How Office Noise Kills Productivity and Hurts Employee Wellness
On its surface, a noisy office might seem like a sign of a productive workplace. After all, if there's noise, it generally means that people are working, right? However, those sounds may actually be hurting your productivity in a number of ways. Worse yet, it could also be hurting your employees' health and wellbeing.
In this post, we look at the specific ways that unwanted sounds can affect an organization's bottom line and why proper office acoustics are essential for maintaining a productive workspace.
First and foremost, office noise creates a direct distraction that prevents employees from being able to concentrate on their work. And, it's not just the loud, boisterous conversations you need to worry about. The constant echoing and hum of background noise can be just as detrimental, hindering employees' ability to focus and thus hurting their productivity levels as well.
Another direct way that office noise hurts productivity is by interfering with employee calls, conversations and other meetings. Making important phone calls in an open-plan workspace can be a serious challenge when the office acoustics are terrible. Instead of being able to simply make a quick call, employees need to locate or reserve dedicated meeting space to make these calls, ultimately slowing down their workday. Similarly, if an echoing office is constantly disrupting meetings or making participants repeat themselves to be heard over the noise, then meeting time is being wasted.
A noisy space is a stressful one. An abundance of research has shown that noisy environments can significantly increase our stress levels – even when we sleep. On one hand, our bodies are simply reacting as they're supposed to, as one study explains: "The fundamental purposes of hearing are to alert and to warn." But when we are exposed to such noise all day, constantly triggering the release of stress hormones, this can take its toll on our bodies in numerous ways.
In fact, the increase in stress can lead to a host of other adverse health problems, as one study writes: "Chronic stress in turn is associated with cardiovascular risk factors, comprising increased blood pressure and dyslipidemia, increased blood viscosity and blood glucose, and activation of blood clotting factors."
4) Reduced energy
We all know the feeling of being "drained" at the end of a workday. But it's not just our workloads that cause this fatigue. The level of noise at work plays an important factor too. Former psychology professor Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D., of Lehman College in New York, explains in Redbook magazine: "Your pulse rate and blood pressure increase, your adrenaline surges; anything that puts added stress on the nervous system eventually depletes your energy."
Aside from adverse effects on employees' health, this fatigue will naturally also limit the amount of work they're able to complete during the day.
Taken together, all of the outcomes above can create a serious morale-killer at work. Reduced morale will hurt productivity even further. But also, it will lead to higher turnover rates, causing additional strain on the organization's bottom line. This is why it's imperative for businesses to be proactive about improving their office acoustics and mitigating noise, especially in open-plan environments.
Reduce noise with sound absorbing panels from Rampart
Rampart's moodacoustic solutions are engineered with the most effective soundproofing materials to control noise and enhance speech privacy in today’s workplace. We offer several solutions to fit the needs of each space, including wall and ceiling panels, suspended acoustic baffles and diffusers made from perforated metal or wood slats. Additionally, our sound-absorbing panels are customized depending on the application to ensure they blend in with the environment.
Contact us today to learn more about mitigating office noise with acoustic panels from Rampart.