Noisy offices are a big distraction for both the workers and the clients. Workers are often late with assignments and they are usually blaming the noise for the lateness. Offices have become increasingly busy and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop anytime soon. On top of a noisy work setting, computers and cell phones can also be to blame for work being turned in late.
At some point in the development of industrial psychology, analysts concluded that the closed-off cubile model of office design was counter productive, that it encouraged isolation and served as an obstacle to collaboration. But the truth is that so much of the office work that goes on in the life of an average American worker is necessarily an individual task, and that all the noise of a completely open office simply prevents workers from thinking clearly.
While noise in an office can lead some people to a lower level of productivity, it can not be to blame for those employees not completing their work. The reality of life (at work or not) is this; there will always be distractions. Phones will continue to ring, questions will be asked, clients may come in at unexpected times. It is part of work life. People must take personal responsibility to learn how to function in these real life situations.
I believe that the Internet is probably more likely the cause of poor productivity than noise in offices. Most offices are not all that noisy. You may have white noise from phone calls or computer equipment, but I don't believe that is what keeps workers from completing their tasks. The Internet can be a huge distraction for people. This has prompted some organizations to limit Internet access for their employees, but workers can still get to it through their smart phones.