"Keep it down over there!"
Does noise negatively impact your day in the office environment? While companies continue to build flexible and, often times, open work spaces, workers around the world have begun to worry more about workplace noise. Among their top concerns are things like increased stress over a lack of quiet spaces. Then there's the increasingly unpopular occurrence of being distracted by their coworkers conversations. All valid concerns that affect the ultimate employee experience.
But it's not only employee happiness that's negatively impacted. It's your bottom line. Did you know that according to the American Data Entry Management Association, excessive office noise reduces productivity by up to 40% and increases errors by as much as 38%? That can get costly. Now we're at risk of losing talented people over general unhappiness and not being as productive as we can be. It's pretty evident the adverse effects of noise can hurt us in more ways than one, especially if we don't find ways to address it quickly.
If you're experiencing this in your own organization, you're not alone! This is a global issue; in fact, 55% of today's workforce in the US, UK, and Australia feel that keeping noise to a minimum is critical for successful businesses. What's more, 80% feel noise makes it harder to concentrate. It's become such an issue for companies that 45% of today's managers report consistent complaints from employees about noise. If we don't find solutions for this increasing concern, workers feeling less and less supported will soon put their companies at risk for high turnover!
Fortunately, it's not all doom and gloom when it comes to noise. There are relatively simple solutions for any space that won't break the bank! Here are some things you can look into to help the noise situation in your space:
- Sound Masking: This is the addition of natural or artificial sound into an environment to cover-up unwanted sound. It reduces the workplace noise to make people more comfortable. We have American Sound Masking in our office and it makes a world of difference. You don't realize it's on, but when it's not, emails are flying around about getting it turned back on. We can say from experience, that it's a game changer for the mood in the office.
- Appropriate Flooring Choices: Consider the areas that may be the loudest and evaluate the flooring that's under them. Wood, ceramic, tile, and concrete floors can increase noise volume. Consider strategically placing rugs or even switching to carpet. Your choice in commercial floors matters a great deal for many reasons, but sound is an important consideration.
- Intentionally Quiet Spaces: With less noise there is more joy. That's why we need to build out spaces that offer choice and flexibility. We need to give people permission to leave their desks and go into a huddle room or a conference room to make a phone call or do their work. There are also some new creative ways people are adding quiet spaces to their workplaces like Framery. These private pods are soundproof and solve noise and privacy issues in some of the worlds most recognized offices like Microsoft and many more.
Every space is different and you'll know what's right for your business and your people, but with noise becoming a big problem in today's work environments, solutions like the above can make a big impact both on overall happiness and in productivity.