How to stop noise in the office from being a concentration problem

20/09/2019

How to stop noise in the office from being a concentration problem

Designing a place of work requires consideration of different factors that facilitate employee comfort and productivity: lighting, comfort and spaciousness are some. However, one crucial factor should not be ignored and that is acoustics. The VII edition of the study ¿Eres todo Oi2? (Are you all ears)? reveals that over a third of Spaniards (35%) consider noise to be the most stressful factor at work. The combination of different noises coming from diverse zones of the office, plus the noise of work tools, affects employees’ concentration considerably and generates a state of stress and/or impotence because of the resulting decrease in performance.

To prevent offices from having these types of acoustics problems, the following points should be heeded:

  • First, an acoustic study can be performed to determine the best way of separating zones by combining the site’s technical features and aesthetics. It should bear in mind the level of insulation necessary in each zone to suit the level of concentration required.

If sufficient resources or time are unavailable for this study, other solutions can be adopted:

  • Arrange employees according to the noise types involved in performing their work. Some people constantly have to deal with telephone calls and resolve matters by speaking aloud, or move about continually because their job requires them to do so. Other people, on the other hand, require more concentration because the work they do is individual and they need to be free of constant distraction from their surroundings.
  • Meeting rooms with insulating walls. Good wall and door quality will insulate noise, both inside and outside the meeting room, i.e. in both directions. It is therefore possible to stop the internal noise in the meeting room from distracting people outside and the external noise from disturbing people inside the room.
  • Providing silent zones. We often have to do tasks that require greater concentration and we cannot afford to be distracted. Or perhaps we do not want to distract others when making telephone calls. We therefore recommend providing silent, insulated spaces that employees can use either individually or in very small groups.
  • The impact of furniture. One thing that should be considered is that curved surfaces help to reduce noise whereas tall furniture increases it because employees tend to raise their voices as they cannot see one another. The material they are made of is also crucial because sound waves bounce off some materials more than others.

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