Workplace Wellbeing Solutions

How Noise Affects Employees in the Workplace

Introduction

Excessive noise in the workplace can lead to decreased wellbeing, lower levels of productivity and cause high levels of stress. In the ‘Noise and Wellbeing at Work’ Survey, 2019, it was found that 44% of UK office workers reported that noise has a negative impact on their overall wellbeing, and a further 65% reported that noise in the workplace impacted on their ability to complete work in an accurate and timely manner.

Noise can have a huge impact on the environment, particularly in a workplace, but it is often one thing that is overlooked when designing an office. Our offices today include collaborative open plan offices, visually appealing glass meeting rooms and breakout areas, aesthetically they are the future in office design, but acoustically they can have a negative impact on the productivity and wellbeing of your employees.

How does noise affect employees in the workplace?

Productivity

In the ‘Noise and Wellbeing at Work’ survey, it was found that 52% of employees are interrupted by noise distractions more than five times in a working day, with 17 percent stating that they are interrupted by noise more than 10 times.

In a separate study it was found that on average it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task after being distracted. If we relate that back to the findings from the ‘Noise and Wellbeing at Work’ survey, that’s over half the UK workforce losing 1 hour and 55 minutes a day to noise distractions.

In the same survey of 1,000 UK-based office workers, 65% reported that noise in the workplace impacted on their ability to complete work in an accurate and timely manner.

Stress

In the ‘Noise and Wellbeing at Work’ survey, 44% of UK office workers said that noise had a negative impact on their overall wellbeing, with over 40 percent reporting that noise at work caused them to feel stressed.

Noise can trigger the body’s stress response, one of the major health effects can be chronic stress. Noise in the workplace has been linked with high blood pressure, poor sleep quality and putting you at risk of heart disease.

Ensuring your employees are not affected by noise in this way is essential to ensuring their health and low stress levels.

Wellbeing

Noise in the workplace can have a considerate impact on an employee’s wellbeing and stress levels. Conversational distraction is the number one dissatisfaction in employee wellbeing, equally, a completely silent workplace can increase stress levels with workers being afraid to make any noise.

In the ‘Noise and Wellbeing at Work’ survey almost half of UK workers say noise has a negative impact on their wellbeing whilst 58% say that noise has a high impact on their stress levels in the workplace.

Sound Masking

Sound Masking increases the acoustic background noise level evenly throughout a given zone to reduce distraction and increase productivity, privacy and increases office comfort, making employees feel more relaxed and in turn, reducing stress. Sound Masking works by emitting an un-obtrusive background noise to an environment that is specifically designed to mask human speech.

This means conversations aren’t as easily understood at a distance and are therefore less distracting and less stressful to employees.