If you work in an open-plan office, you might have some concentration problems. Be reassured: you’re not the only one facing that issue. Several international surveys have found that 85% of people are dissatisfied with their working environment and can’t get full concentration in open-plan offices.
The acoustics of open-plan offices are proven to be less satisfying than in closed offices, where professionals have more work privacy. Conversations are especially distracting because of the constant variations in rhythm and tone. According to a study conducted by Banbury in 1997, employees need at least 20 minutes to get used to communication noise such as conversations. But they disaccustom in only 5 minutes!
Concretely, what is the impact on a working day? Open-plan offices workers lose, on average, 36 minutes a day due to distractions (Kaarlela 2004). They also say they feel they have little capacity to think and work creatively or constructively in open plan spaces. Want to calculate the time lost due to distractions over a working year? Over 9100 minutes, which is more than 150 hours or 19 days.