More than 50 million Americans work in offices and a recent survey by pollster Louis Harris shows that most of them agree that the "quality of their working life is a major contributor" to a better life generally.

Harris and Associates interviewers found that 70 percent of the office workers felt that the quality of their working life was a major contributor to life in general, which rated a 58 percent approval.

Buildings magazine, in reporting on the Harris study made for Steelcase Inc., said the survey showed that better working conditions get equal emphasis along with wages and salaries as changes most reponsible for improvement in working life.

Ninety-two percent of the office workers interviewed indicated a connection between personal satisfaction with office surroundings and their job performance. And 43 percent said they could do more work if their office environments were changed.

Approximately 75 percent said the office of the future should be "quieter and less distracting."

The survey also showed that 45 percent of the work force is using computers and other new office equipment in their daily routines in recent years. Also, 73 percent of office workers learned new skills in the past five years.

The trade publication reported that office decision-makers and designers are "aware that workers place great importance on adequate heating, air conditioning, ventilation and noise control." But designers and business executives tend to fail to understand the importance workers place on privacy and how much it affects their ability to function.

It is recognized, however, that furniture, privacy and personal space as desirable and also what "set executive offices apart."

The study included interviews with 1,047 office workers, 209 top corporate executives and 225 office design professionals and architects.