Studies reported in the Daily Mail this morning have found that constant noise and lack of privacy disrupts brain activity and impairs concentration.
Researchers have determined that any distraction causes an immediate brain response even though the individual may not be aware of it at the time.
The main complaints seem to be a lack of privacy, poor temperature control and a lack of quiet space. Many said they were crammed into the office like battery hens, were exposed to little daylight and high noise levels.
Ill-health caused by offices can raise blood pressure and lead to paranoia, stress, exhaustion and vulnerability to colds and flu.
Productivity also suffers by as much as 15%.
In my experience these finding are right, I have always found it easier to get on with work when colleagues and telephones are quiet. Another aspect not highlighted by researchers is that of office chit chat. Quite innocent conversations may be having an untold effect upon the productivity and sanity of your workforce, particularly if some employees feel that others may not be pulling their weight.
Solutions for optimum performance include restricting rooms to a maximum of 8 people and enriching the work environment with pictures and plants. It seems humans need a stimulating environment to deliver their best performance.