When it comes to distracting factors and one’s inability to focus on the task at hand, there’s nothing that’s more devastating than working in a noisy environment. The most incredible thing about this is the fact that some people, instead of trying to solve this problem, decide to just roll with the punches and accept that – it’s just the way things are. However, there’s so much you can do in order to make your office into a quieter, more productive environment. With that in mind and without further ado, here are several reasons why working in a noisy environment is bad for your productivity, as well as several solutions for these problems.
1. Actively fighting stress
The first thing you need to understand about noise is the fact that it causes both anxiety and stress, which can have negative repercussions in the workplace. Not only will it ruin your productivity by also make everyone feel anxious, thus being a lot worse company. In other words, a noisy work environment can harm interpersonal relationships in the office and make people more confrontational, due to the fact that they’re aggravated all the time. In order to avoid this, make sure to try and explain to your staff why it’s in their best interest to produce as little noise as possible.
2. Conversations are to be avoided
Another problematic thing is conversations. Unlike background noise that can be ignored, it’s the most natural thing for an employee to want to hear what their coworkers are talking about. Even if you’re actively trying not to listen to the small talk that’s taking place at the next desk, there are some words that are a subconscious attention-grabbers. This is why you need to encourage your team to use the break area for conversations and that if they have to tell something to their coworkers, do that via an IM software.
3. Soundproof the place
Outside noise is incredibly dangerous due to the fact that there’s not much you can do about it. Sure, this is something that you need to pay attention to before you even lease the place but even if you fail to do so, there’s always some room for a contingency plan. For instance, you could reach out to an agency that specializes in workplace acoustics and ask for professional advice or assistance. This is particularly important in office spaces that have an open floor layout. Modern problems require modern solutions.
4. Noise reduces productivity
There are some people who have a hard time focusing on the task at hand when they’re surrounded by different kinds of distracting noises. For some, even the ticking of the clock and the noise produced by a keyboard can be too much. Unfortunately, these inside noises aren’t something that’s as easy to deal with, seeing as how soundproofing the place won’t help. A cubicle system, on the other hand, can be of great help when it comes to the overall noise reduction. Other than this, silent keyboards and noise-cancelling headphones are always a huge plus.
5. Multitasking problems
As it is, multitasking is not the healthiest of productivity trends. However, when in a noisy environment, this becomes even more difficult. Now, instead of having to focus on two or three tasks at the same time, a part of your mental capacities will be reserved either trying to interpret the background noise or trying to shut it out. Therefore, in industries where multitasking is the norm, keeping the office quiet needs to be an even greater priority. Still, in the long-term, it’s best if you were to advise against multitasking.
6. Damage to one’s hearing
The last thing you need to understand is the fact that noise might turn out to be a massive problem, in the long run, seeing as how it can become a health hazard. A lot of people believe that the only way for noise to hurt your hearing is for it to be extremely loud, yet, even moderate noise can be quite problematic. Also, speaking about health, we’ve already mentioned that enduring consistent noises might be particularly troublesome for one’s long-term mental health. In other words, tending to this issue needs to become an utmost priority to any employer who really cares about their staff.
As you can see, you can either work on your office as a whole or give each of your employees the means to fight against this on their own. Most importantly, you need to understand that keeping the office quiet needs to become a joint effort, due to the fact that it’s everyone’s responsibility. Lastly, if there are external factors that you can’t affect, you need to understand that moving your office because the area is too noisy is a completely legitimate business decision. The list above is more than good enough reason for such a thing.
Emily is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing & design. Researching, exploring and writing are her favourite things to do. Besides that, she loves animals and travelling.