Gen Z claims workers are more productive in noisy open offices

Older generations work better in different office environments than their younger counterparts, according to a Future Workplace report.

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More than half of Generation Z (55%) and Millennials (56%) said they prefer open office environments, according to a Future Workplace study released on Monday. With four generations sharing the workplace, preferred working conditions vary between age groups.

SEE: How to get the most from Apple's free productivity apps: 9 tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Distractions in an office are inevitable: Nearly all (99%) of employees said they get distracted while working in an office. Coworkers are the biggest problem, the report found, with 65% of respondents citing noisy coworkers as the most prominent distraction. Some 93% of employees said they are often frustrated with distractions while on a phone or video call.

Regardless of these distractions, Gen Z and Millennials still said they prefer working in an open office environment, the report found. More than half of Gen Z respondents (52%) said they are more productive in noisy work environments. The younger the generation, the more they want open offices, the report said.

Older generations completely disagree: Some 60% of Baby Boomers said they need quiet environments to be productive at work. The reason Baby Boomers have a tougher time in open environments is because they aren't as good at handling distractions, when compared to their younger coworkers, the report found.

"Gen Z is bringing millions of people into the global workforce, and our research finds that they have very different working styles compared to previous generations," Jeanne Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace, said in a press release. "We now have four generations working under one roof, which forces companies to reconsider traditional definitions of what makes a productive office environment and how their employees can best collaborate with each other."

Some 35% of Gen Zers said they use headphones to cancel out distractions, while only 16% of Baby Boomers said the same. Four in 10 Gen Z and millennials said they relocate to comfortable spaces, such as a couch or cushioned chair, to escape distractions at work, the report found. More than half of Baby Boomers, however, said they are only able to work at their primary workspaces.

For advice on how to help your employees maintain productivity, check out this TechRepublic article.

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By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.