It is impossible to be productive if you are distracted.
Acoustics are a crucial aspect of office design, and the level of noise in a workplace can significantly impact employee comfort and productivity.
In previous articles, we touch on ‘are we more productive at home or the office?’ and we also talk about the workplace becoming more of a destination for team collaboration. Despite all the positive aspects of bringing our teams into the office, including collaboration, new ideas, mentoring, culture, and learning, most business leaders overlook the issue of noise and distraction. But the answer isn’t simply just work from home.
So, If we’re making the office a hub for our teams to be their best, we need to address the noisy elephant in the room. With the increase in hybrid working, an office is no longer a place where workers are quietly lined up at desks. Instead, the focus is on collaboration and interaction with colleagues and customers, with multiple meetings taking place we are achieving a greater positive energy for being in the office but this also increases the level of noise in our open-plan environments. And we mustn’t forget that some employees require quiet spaces to focus on their work within the workplace.
IPSOS Study on Workplace Satisfaction
An extensive international study by IPSOS, global market research, and consulting firm, found that 85% of office staff are dissatisfied with their working environments and have a hard time concentrating on their tasks. This is strongly correlated with the fact that open floor plans have become commonplace. The study also showed that typical interruptions, such as others’ conversations, ringtones, loud typing, printers, mobile notifications, etc., cause staff to lose up to 86 minutes a day. Several studies show the negative impact of workplace distractions on mental health and workplace absenteeism.
The number of people coming into the office
has affected our workplace noise levels,
Due to the increased flexibility of hybrid working, the reduction in the number of people coming into the office has also affected our workplace noise levels, with a decrease in background noise, specific conversations are much more audible. The human brain can easily tune out background white noise, but specific sounds can be more challenging to ignore. Additionally, the ability to work from any location makes it easier to compare and notice the sound differences between various work settings.
Strategies to reduce noise distractions and improve productivity in open-plan offices
Achieving a productive and peaceful work environment in open-plan offices is an essential but challenging task. Rather than relying on guesswork, careful analysis of your space is a skill that must be cultivated to enhance productivity while reducing noise levels. Your office space should be designed to cater to your specific business needs, rather than blindly adopting the ideas of others.