Noisy Offices and How to Cope With Them
Have you ever needed to get work done in the office but found it difficult to focus with all the background noise? Nowadays, open office plans are extremely common because they are meant to promote collaboration and productivity. While these spaces have their benefits, there are many negative effects for those working in these conditions.
The most common issues with open floor plans are that they are incredibly loud, which can be distracting for everyone working within them. Depending on the number of people and type of office, the noise level will vary, but for most open office plans, the noise is just too much. Not only is it distracting to have to hear other people’s conversations, but phones ringing off the hook, stomping footsteps, all of this excessive noise bad for your hearing health.
Manage Noise in the Workplace
In order to protect your hearing and better focus on your work duties, there are many tactics you can use to manage the sound, such as the following:
- Take regular silence breaks and get outside
Get away from the noise by going for a short walk or into the breakroom for a cup of coffee. Taking regular, small breaks is also good for your body; it allows you to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing if you sit at a desk most of the day.
- Wear earplugs (or noise-cancelling headphones)
This is a good alternative to blasting music in your ears to cover up the sound. Earplugs will put a barrier between your ears and the rest of the office. The only side effect of this tactic is that the earplugs may cancel out too much noise which would make it more difficult to hear smaller sounds.
- Have a conversation about it
It is likely that your coworkers feel the same way about the noise as you so don’t be afraid to speak up about it. Try to reach a mutual agreement between everyone on what is an appropriate noise level for the office.
- Keep yourself organized
If you have your work planned out, you’ll be much more focused on what it is you need to complete throughout the day. If you know when you need to have a certain assignment is done that requires your undivided attention, then you can prepare yourself and the rest of the office accordingly.
- Master the art of meditation
Meditation can help you to focus better despite the many distractions of a noisy office. If you can practice meditating in quiet spaces like your home or local yoga studio, you could do the same at work when it is necessary.
Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the problem with noise in open office environments and are taking steps to change that.
One of the ways they can do this is to dedicate certain spaces of the office as ‘quiet space’. These spaces should be far away from places like the bathroom, conference room, printers, and other typical noisy areas and equipment. Another tactic is to install carpeting throughout the office to minimize the amount of sound from constant foot traffic. Along with this, acoustic panelling can be installed on the walls or ceilings to absorb and redirect sound. They are environmentally friendly and are easily rearranged. Plants are also good at absorbing sound. Not only do they help with the noise control but they also improve the air quality and make the office look great.
Making your work environment comfortable is of the utmost importance due to the fact that you spend the majority of your time there. A noisy office not only affects your work but your ears as well. Make the changes necessary in order to protect your hearing and increase your productivity.