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IQ Offices Survey: 57 Percent of Canadians Are Distracted, Lose up to 2 Hours of Productivity Each Workday

Close to 60 percent of Canadians report they battle distraction at work — resulting in up to two hours of lost productivity every day — according to a new national survey commissioned by iQ Offices, the largest Canadian-owned coworking company, featuring workspaces designed for productivity.

According to the iQ Offices Productivity at Work Survey of 1,500+ Canadians, fielded by Maru/Blue in January 2020, the vast majority (57 percent) of Canadian adults agree “it’s easy to get distracted in my workplace.” Those under 35 are most distracted – a whopping 68 percent agreed.

Top Canadian Productivity Drains @ Work

Talk-a-holics: When asked to identify “what challenges my productivity the most,” Canadians said loud talkers and “talk-a-holic” chatty colleagues were the biggest productivity drain (54 percent). Quebecers (61 percent), those in the Atlantic provinces (58 percent) and those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (56 percent) were the most likely to identify this as a major workplace issue.

Trendy office styles: Physical workspace issues ranked second on the list of productivity drains, with nearly half of Canadians (49 percent) blaming “noisy recreation areas within the space” and a “distracting open concept work environment” on lapses in daily productivity. Those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (56 percent), Atlantic Provinces (52 percent) and Quebec (58 percent) are the most likely to lament the negative productivity impact of trendy, but noisy recreation areas in their workspace.

Unassigned workspaces: The third biggest productivity challenge for Canadians was “unassigned workspaces where I don’t have a permanent desk or office.” Almost half of all Canadians (43 percent) name this as a key complaint. Albertans (52 percent), British Columbians (47 percent), and those in the Atlantic Provinces (47 percent) report they find this style of workplace the most challenging.

Time wasting meetings: This dreaded meeting type rounded out Canadians’ top productivity blockers. 38 percent — with more men (45 percent) than women (32 percent) naming time wasting meetings as an obstacle. According to the survey, meeting frustration is experienced most acutely by Ontarians (43 percent) and British Columbians (41 percent), while those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are the most meeting-tolerant (25 percent).

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Survey Says: Less Money, Mo’ Design at Work

Office environment is so important, that roughly two thirds (64 percent) of Canadians surveyed report they’d choose “slightly less money to work in a conveniently-located… beautiful workspace designed for productivity and employee satisfaction.” Adults surveyed under 35 years (68 percent) and Albertans (72 percent) are the most likely to choose workplace design over money.

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Other workplace environment issues that are important when it comes to productivity? Canadians say a conveniently-located workplace (60 percent), the ability to work remotely (50 percent), an attractively-designed workspace with natural light (43 percent) and privacy at work (38 percent) are critical to helping them optimize their workplace potential.

Cost of Canada’s Workplace Productivity Drains

When asked to sum up the impact of daily productivity drains on their performance, 73 percent of Canadians estimated they could save up to two hours a day if they worked in an office that was designed to minimize distraction.

More than one-third (35 percent) reported they could boost productivity by two hours each day as a result of working in a productivity-enhancing office environment. Another 38 percent of those surveyed estimated they could get the usual seven hours of work completed in six. Younger adults, under 35 years, were the most likely to estimate they could potentially boost productivity by two hours a day (39 percent) — along with those in the Atlantic provinces (38 percent), Quebec (36 percent) and Ontario (36 percent).

“Canadians overwhelmingly highlight design, physical environment productivity challenges like nomad seating arrangements, noise and distracting open concept design, ahead of other workload-related challenges, such as excessive email (17 percent) or unexpected extra work (19 percent),” explains Kane Willmott, iQ Offices CEO and co-founder, adding that those insights help inform iQ Offices designers and architects as they create iQ’s enterprise-level, flexible office space designs.

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Expert shares office design productivity hacks

Willmott champions productivity through his iQ Offices coworking format. It’s the product of a passion for environmental psychology and a unique office design honed over nearly a decade in business. His proven successful formula has resonated and many features can be implemented by any company that wants to enhance their physical work environment.

“Imagine what your business could accomplish if you gave the one to two hours of daily lost productivity back to your team. Better work life balance, better business performance. My top productivity hacks are white noise systems, extra sound deadening materials, private work areas and office management support services,” says Willmott. “I find wellness features like sit stand desks and nap rooms are a much better investment than a noisy recreation area when trying to improve productivity of teams and business performance. A mix of closed and open areas is optimal. The reality is people generally prefer this to open concept workplaces.”

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