A recent study by the Plantronics company in the United Kingdom, France and Germany, has showed that the noise at workplaces has a negative impact on both the staff and the quality of their work (89.9% of respondents in the UK , 96.5% in Germany and 93.5% in France). These results highlight the increasing struggles encountered by employees who find it difficult to concentrate on the task at the expense of their productivity.
Today's work environment is often very noisy. For the interviewed employees, this translates into a significant decrease in productivity (54.1% in the UK, 65.1% in Germany, and 65.5% in France). Furthermore, the study also quantifies the losses, claiming that a noisy environment at work could result in an annual loss of £15,000 for a managerial position in the company. Excessive noise in open space type offices may even result in stress and physical illnesses, such as headaches. Almost three quarters of respondents also indicated that their company had taken no steps to address these issues or that the actions implemented had failed.
A study from University of Sydney, in 2013, has also found that the lack of privacy was by far the most noteworthy issue which affected the employees’ morale. Furthermore, according to study by Steelcase and Ipsos, in 2014, a company’s staff loses up to 86 minutes a day on average, because of the various noise distractions.
THE NEW ORGANIZATION OF A WORKPLACE
These noisy environments are directly related to one of the most important radical changes in the work mentality: employees are becoming more mobile. As the flexible working concept has been gaining popularity, the design of the traditional office has also changed dramatically, and the "open space" type of office environment has become more noisy and poorly insulated acoustically. At the moment, noise is the number one problem at the workplace.
SOLUTIONS TO IMPROVE THE ACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENT AND LIMIT THE NOISE IMPACT IN OPEN SPACES AND OFFICES
It is vital for companies to analyze the impact of noise at the workplace and take measures accordingly. There are several solutions that can help reduce the unwanted noise:
Use insulating and sound-absorbent materials. There are many aesthetic solutions available that can significantly reduce the sound reverberation and absorb some of the noise without sacrificing the design of the workspace. Acustica Integral offers different approaches to sound and acoustic insulation for open spaces and offices, such as absorbent acoustic and decorative panels, absorbent ceiling panels, absorbent totems, and absorbent rolls. Given the cost of noise for the company, and the impact on their employees’ productivity, an acoustic solution is always a great investment.
Offer silent spaces, where employees can work when they need to focus on important tasks in order to be more productive than in a shared office.
Propose spaces for exchange and discussion, where employees can exchange and discuss in a noisy environment, and make phone calls without disturbing their colleagues.