4 Ways Noise Impacts Employee Productivity and Well-Being

Among other things that may cause disturbance in a workplace, noise is the most common issue that workers often point out.

However, in today’s busy modern society, and in the urban areas where population is continuously on the rise, reducing external noise in your office can be a challenge.

Apart form this, if you have an open-plan sitting style in your office, some of your employees might be getting disturbed due to the noise caused by others.

How Does Noise Impact Employee Productivity?

While the argument over open-plan offices vs cubicles continues, one thing is certain: open-plan workplaces are nearly invariably the noisiest of the two.

The open-plan phenomenon, which now accounts for over 70% of modern offices, is clearly here to stay. While some argue this would increase employee productivity, the noise is a challenge many employers are trying to overcome.

That’s because excessive noise may have serious consequences for productivity, well-being, happiness, and, most significantly, our physical health.

Here are four ways that office noise has an impact on employee happiness and productivity:

1. Noise stresses people out

Workplace stress isn’t limited to deadlines and workplace politics. Noise is a silent stressor in our body.

Loud noises and extended exposure to specific noises causes physiological stress reactions in our bodies, such as blood pressure and heart rate increases.

Even noises that office employees are subjected to, such as phone rings, discussions, etc. have an impact on our heart’s rhythm and pace.

All these factors not only determine how your employees feel, but also how productive they are while at work.

2. Conversations become disruptive

The absence of walls and cubicles is a distinguishing feature of open-plan workplaces. Julian Treasure, the CEO of The Sound Agency, believes this is particularly troublesome.

“There is much data that suggests that other people’s talks are the most harmful sound of all,” Treasure explains.

Listening to the chatter of co-workers causes distraction and it takes time for the employee to focus their energies back on what they were doing before.

3. Multitasking becomes more difficult

The more you try to multitask, the more you’ll be distracted by outside sounds.

According to Stanford University neurologist Anthony Wagner, habitual multitaskers are not only more prone to be distracted by sounds, but they also have a harder time returning to their original work once they have been sidetracked.

4. Employee motivation suffers

Following exposure to the same noises, the same workers were also less likely to focus on complicated tasks.

The workers had higher-than-normal adrenaline levels, a stress hormone. They also showed behavioral impacts, such as decreased efforts to solve impossible tasks.

Consider taking efforts to minimize noise levels in your office if you believe the acoustic environment is affecting staff productivity and wellness.

Acoustic baffles, acoustic wall panels, and fabric wall panels are some of the most common acoustic solutions for workplaces.

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