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You may have heard that Ask has been growing – literally, with awesome new employees (like this one, and more) and a new floor of office space to house our expanding family. So what better time to re-evaluate what makes our office tick each and every work day? 

We recently polled our employees about work preferences and habits – what makes our work areas great, not so great, and our daily structure of going to meetings vs. time doing work. Turns out, we’re doing a lot of both.

We found that Ask spends 45 percent of our time in some type of meeting (almost as much as focus time at 47.2 percent), which typically either occurs in a conference room or at a co-worker’s desk. So the majority of our fellow co-workers expressed that they wanted more meeting rooms, collaboration space, and alternative workspaces. Overall, it was clear that we were looking for more places to meet up outside the often disruptive and not-very-private personal desk.

Doing this survey made us curious – do all other Americans work the same way? So we conducted a study with Harris Interactive, which was released today, and the findings gave us a glimpse at what sparks or kills workplace productivity nationwide. The study found that despite 61 percent of respondents claiming that noisy co-workers are the biggest distractions in offices, over one quarter still prefer an “open room” or “newsroom” setting.

Interestingly, our office said the same. And now we’re considering a newsroom setting for our new office design plans for when we officially expand our real estate to the third floor of our building.

We believe every good company listens to its employees to foster good working habits. What makes your work day better?

Learn more about the Harris findings here and a few more interesting workplace habits after the jump!

And be sure to watch out for a fun Instagram contest we’ll be announcing in a couple of weeks, that includes taking a pic of your own personal workspace for a chance to win a few snazzy items for your desk. 

- Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com

Me Time vs. We Time

A vast majority (86%) of U.S. office workers are most productive when they work alone.

  • But those who live in the West (94%) are more likely to say this than those who live in the South (81%).
  • Over half (52%) agree they are most productive when they work closely with their co-workers.

Cube vs. Open Style Seating

27% prefer to work in a newsroom setting office (e.g., call center style, open room seating).

  • And it looks like married people like their space. Those who are single/never married (37%) are more likely to say this than those who are married (21%).

So Many Distractions!

What bugs American office workers the most?

  • Nearly two thirds (61%) say noisy coworkers are the biggest distractions in offices.
  • Almost one in five (19%) blame social events (e.g., lunches, birthday celebrations) are the biggest distractions in offices.
  • 19% say water cooler talk are the biggest distractions in offices.
  • 17% say co-workers’ messy workspaces are the biggest distractions in offices.