From the factory floor to the open-plan office, there are many factors that impact both your employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. One of those is acoustics. In this article we’re taking a closer look at common acoustic issues found in the work environment and what you can do to address them.
In our Noise and Wellbeing at Work survey, we identified a number of noises that workers found particularly distracting. Of the UK workers surveyed, overhearing telephone conversations was specified as the most distracting noise in the workplace, closely followed by tuning into personal conversations and sudden laughter.
Exploring this further we found that it was sudden and consistent changes in pitch and tone which were deemed the most distracting, affecting colleagues’ ability to focus.
Too much noise
If you’re managing a factory floor, there may be lots of noise from machinery in which case you will need to pay attention to the legal requirements over noise levels and what safety equipment you should be providing your staff – such as ear defenders.
But when it comes to the office, loud noise tends to be overlooked as an issue.
From struggling to focus, to finding it difficult to have important meetings or telephone conversations, too much noise in the office can significantly impact productivity and overall professionalism in the workplace. It can also cause higher stress levels for some employees, particularly introverts who can find louder environments a little overbearing.
In contrast, if your office or workplace is library-quiet you may encounter other issues. From unavoidable noises seeming louder and becoming even more distracting, to employees fearing having their private conversations overhead, it doesn’t pay to have an office that’s too quiet either.
So, what can you do?
Having read that you shouldn’t have an office that’s too noisy or too quiet, you may wonder how you can find a happy medium that keeps all your employees satisfied and comfortable.
Finding the sweet spot in acoustics lies in sound masking – a fantastic piece of technology that is easy to integrate and use in any office or work environment.
Sound masking works by distributing ambient sound through loudspeakers in an office space. Operating at the same frequency as human speech, some of the most distracting noises in the office, namely sudden bursts of laughter and telephone conversations, are reduced to an unintelligible murmur in the background.
It’s a great way to eliminate those common distractions whilst enhancing speech privacy. In other words, sound masking can help you get the balance right between having a work environment that’s too loud and one that’s too quiet.
From having work environments that are too loud or too quiet, to just having too much of the wrong noise, it’s important to identify any acoustic problems your work environment is facing and research suitable ways to combat them.
Not only could it be an issue of health and safety or privacy, acoustic issues can also affect wellbeing and productivity.
If you’re interested in improving the acoustics in your workplace, speak to Remark Group today to arrange a demonstration or find out more.