Last Sunday’s Doonesbury comic really hit the mark when discussing the noise issues inherent in open office plans.
She’s right about the loss of productivity. Open-plan employees are interrupted once every 11 minutes according to research from UC Irvine, and it takes them up to 23
minutes to get back into the flow of what they were doing before they were interrupted. These distractions make employees much less productive — a 2014 Steelcase/Ipsos study found that employees lost as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions!
And the comic’s protagonist is actually undershooting it a bit when she says “almost half” of employees say that lack of sound privacy is a huge issue — the number is actually closer to 60%!
Here’s hoping this office has sound masking installed soon — seems like they need it!