More than a third of UK office workers can’t easily find somewhere to concentrate at work, and 23% of office workers wear headphones at their desk due the lack of concentration spaces.

According to a new survey of 2,000 UK office workers by office interior design firm Morgan Lovell, having space to work alone and concentrate is important to employees, as well as the ability to choose where they do their work.

“It’s not surprising to see office workers are still struggling to find space to concentrate while at work, given the popularity of open-plan offices,” said Elaine O’Keeffe, workplace consultant at Morgan Lovell.

The survey found headphones were the most popular way to gain some “concentration space” across the younger age groups, while the most popular option for age 35 and over was to move away from the desk. Many respondents said they booked out a meeting room in order to get space to concentrate.

“Employers should look at this data and see how they can make small changes now to positively impact their workforce in 2019,” said O’Keeffe.

With one of the most popular complaints being a lack of meeting rooms, introducing one-person concentration booths can not only solve a lack of meeting rooms but also improve staff attraction and wellbeing.

“Gone are the days when being sat at an assigned desk was the only measurement of productivity, and more than half those surveyed said the freedom to choose where they do their work would influence them taking a job offer,” said O’Keeffe.

Survey results

Privacy and concentration in the workplace (1,000 respondents)

  • More than a third of respondents said they cannot easily find somewhere in the office to concentrate on their work (34.65%)
  • 76.7% of respondents said having space to work alone or concentrate is important to them
  • 22.53% of respondents said they wear headphones at their desk
  • Just 3.94% of respondents said there is a concentration booth or similar in their workplace
  • 15.76% of respondents use meeting rooms to concentrate on work
  • 19.09% said they go away from their desk to concentrate at work

Where people do their work (1,000 respondents)

  • 71.7% of respondents said they work in a company office
  • 66.9% of respondents said they had an assigned desk at work
  • 33.1% of respondents said they do not have an assigned desk at work
  • More than half of respondents said freedom to choose where they do their work would influence taking a job