The run rún of the cafeteria dampens the noise distracting, and also helps the ritual of the coffee (and caffeine), as well as the fact that in a coffee shop you can get bored very much… so work is a way to skip over that boredom.
This idea, however, appears to have been confirmed by a recent study carried out by Japanese researchers has been presented at the annual meeting of the acoustics society.
The study in question has been carried out by Takahiro Tamesue, Yamaguchi University in Japan, and the conclusion is that sounds and murmurs not distract so much as colleagues in office conversations: simply our brain does not pay as much attention to the dialogues of coffee because they are not linked to our work environment, not interest us so much per is.
Tamesue explains it:
The nearby conversations often alter the work routine in open offices. Since it is difficult to soundproof an installation like this, a way of masking the conversations that may be distracting is putting another type of sound that does not have any meaning. Our experiments suggest that in designing sound environments in spaces used for cognitive tasks, as a place of work or school, it would be appropriate to consider not only the level of sound, but also the significance of the noise present.