Revealed: The top 15 employee distractions at work

New research commissioned by Bisley has discovered the greatest bugbears and distractions in the UK’s workplace in 2017.

The Wellness Together study, which surveyed 1000 full and part-time office employees, was developed to gain a greater understanding of workplace wellbeing, with a range of questions that explored employee attitudes to different aspects of their work environment.

Personal space was a recurrent theme and, as the top 15 workplace distractions show, a good percentage of those commonplace irritations can be solved with some smart thinking on personal storage.

The UK’s top 15 office complaints in 2017

Employees were asked, ‘How distracting do you find the following?’. The list shows the factors that were the most distracting, with ‘temperature being too warm’ topping the list as the greatest irritation to most:

  1. Temperature being too warm
  2. Colleagues encroaching on personal workspace
  3. Harsh bright light
  4. Shrieks of laughter or variable volume conversations
  5. Being listened to while on the phone
  6. Furniture that does not adjust to the individual user
  7. Messy desks or shared spaces
  8. Colleague’s smelly sports kit
  9. Colleague’s smelly food
  10. Colleague’s conversation
  11. Sitting down for long periods
  12. Dim light
  13. Temperature being too cool
  14. Hunting for stationery
  15. Sitting next to different people each time you go into the workspace

Everyone will recognise their own annoyances in the list and, as amusing as some of it may be, the reality is that these distractions do affect morale, productivity and effectiveness of a business.

A third of work distractions solved by personal storage

A key reason for commissioning the study was to find new and workable solutions that would benefit staff and employers in today’s flexible work environments. Shared spaces, agile working and multiple work locations have changed the way we work and the workspace needs to evolve to meet the psychological needs of its employees.

34% felt highly distracted by people encroaching on their personal space, whilst over a quarter disliked messy desks, shared spaces, smelly sports kit and smelly food. 21% found hunting for stationery a major disruption, too.

Each of these disrupting factors and more can be solved with personal storage solutions. Personal (and odourous) belongings can be stored in personal lockers, while a clear desk policy can be maintained with filing units and team storage units – which can also double up as dividers with acoustic dampening for zoning, upright working and quiet areas.