Are You a Guilty Co-Worker? Chatty Colleagues are the Biggest Productivity Killer, Study Reveals 

In a new study, by computing accessories and tech retailer Currys, more than a fifth of desk workers agreed that talkative colleagues are the biggest distraction in the workplace.  

The survey asked just over 1000 desk workers, not office only due to the rise in hybrid and remote, across the UK about their ideal and dreaded working conditions to find out the biggest productivity setbacks and the top elements that make a perfect working environment. 

The numbers showed that over half of UK desk workers (58%) don’t feel productive at their workspace. 
Productivity suffers when there’s too many calls, emails and meetings 

When taking a deep dive into the various distractions that contribute to decreased concentration and focus the most, the top one that came in the study was talkative colleagues. Chatty co-workers are the biggest problem for more than a fifth of UK workers, and they are closely followed by internet issues that bother almost the same percentage of participants. Mobile phones are flagged as the third workplace annoyance for 21% of desk workers.  

UK desk workers also point out that some work-related tasks are actually responsible for them not doing enough work. Too many emails are a productivity problem for exactly a fifth of workers (20%), followed by too many meetings (19%), and too many calls (18%). 

The top productivity killing distractions for UK desk workers 

Rank Distraction % UK workers distracted by it 
Talkative colleagues 23% 
Internet issues 22% 
Mobile phones (yours or others) 21% 
Too many emails 20% 
=5 Too many meetings 19% 
=5 Social media 19% 
6Too many calls18%
=6Tiredness/taking a nap18%
7Pets, chores, poor temperature control15%
8Family or friends14%
9Untidy office/desk13%

The ideal work atmosphere: Quiet, tidy and with natural light 

In the past four years, desk workers have gone through a turbulent period due to a sudden shift from working in company offices to pandemic work from home and the hybrid model. These changes led to a continuous debate about what is better: working from home, being in the company office full time, or adopting a hybrid work model? 

According to the latest data, most desk workers in the UK prefer hybrid working (38%), and being fully remote is the best option for nearly a third of them (27%) while 1 in 5 desk workers (20%) feel that a company office is the best working environment for them. 

When it comes to creating the perfect workspace for productivity, just over a third of desk workers agree that a quiet workspace is a key factor.  

Sounds are well-known focus disruptors, but visual distractions also ranked high on the list, with nearly a third (27%) of desk workers stating that having a tidy desk is crucial for staying focused. 

A quarter of paricipants can’t imagine an ideal workspace without natural lighting.  

 RankWhat makes a productive work environment? %
 1 Quiet workspace31%
 2 A tidy desk27%
 3 Natural lighting25%
 4 Fresh air23%
 5 Good colleagues/company23%
Tatiana Rehmova

A glass half-full kind of a girl and a believer that everything happens for a reason, Tatiana works in Media Relations and is the Content Producer at Enhancv. She loves writing, spotting inspiring stories, and building meaningful relationships.