If you want your small business employees to be most productive, let them work remotely. A recent survey from FlexJobs found that only 7% of workers say that the office is their location of choice if they need to be most productive on important work-related projects. Regarding preferred working environments, 51% of employees would prefer to work at home. Another 8% would choose a coffee shop, co-working space, library or somewhere else to work other than the office.

Noise and distractions impact productivity

While 51% say working at home is more comfortable, another 67% report not having to commute reduces stress. Still the top two reasons employees prefer remote working are fewer interruptions (76%) and fewer distractions (75%).

Similarly, a 2013 U.S. Workplace Study conducted by design and architecture firm Gensler found that 69% of workers are dissatisfied with noise levels at their primary work space.  Also 53% of workers are disturbed by others when trying to focus.

Headsets help boost concentration

Headsets are particularly helpful for employees unable to concentrate in today’s open office environments and in noisy environments out of the office. In addition to coffee shops, employees on the go are working in airport lounges, train stations, hotel lobbies and even out in the open at parks or the beach. Headsets can cancel out background noise to boost concentration. On a call, they assure participants of audio clarity, which makes the communication more productive.

Headsets also enable employees to listen to their favorite tunes while they work, which has proven to boost productivity. Research conducted by Dr. Teresa Lesiuk, associate professor of Music Therapy at the University of Miami, found that software developers who listened to music came up with better ideas and completed work faster than those who didn’t listen.  Dr. Lesiuk concluded….. “over time, music listening based on workers’ choice to listen when they want as they want is beneficial for state positive affect (mood), quality-of-work, and time spent on a task.”

Reduce distractions but enable flexible work

Making the office environment less noisy and distracting may boost productivity and enthusiasm for coming into the office. Still don’t ignore small business employees’ desire for flexible work options.  The top reason for flexible work cited in the FlexJobs study was work-life balance at 79%, well above time savings at 48% and commute stress at 47%.

Furthermore offering flexible work options makes a difference in securing talent.  A Plantronics survey found that 64% of small business owners report offering flexible, mobile and remote work options helps in hiring and retaining key employees.

Make the office more conducive to getting work done, but also enable flexible work options. The combination is a winning “work ticket.”