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Designing and choosing flexible workspaces to inspire and help focus.
Sometimes alone. Sometimes together. Always productive.
Today, work is really more of a state of mind than a place you go to perform a task. More often, people need the flexibility to work anywhere—to be mobile and connected, to collaborate and be productive. It all comes down to preferred workspaces and work styles. In the office, an employee might choose to sit at an open desk area, or move to an enclosed team room, or a dedicated focus space. Or they might choose to work from home or a coffee shop. Whatever the choice, people are spending less time at a personal desk (close to 10% less time than they did four years ago1).
Closer to each other, no matter how far away
Teams are now dispersed around the world, working in different time zones, often calling in or joining a video conference. Though it may be difficult to physically optimize remote workspaces, companies can enhance their offices to improve acoustics for those calling in. For example, on-site meeting rooms can be designed to absorb sound and minimize echoes to help remote workers be more productive and feel more present in the room, letting them fully contribute to the work being done.
- The #1 complaint at work is noise.1
- The most common effect of noise is lower productivity.2
- When people can’t get anything done in the office, they put in longer hours and accomplish less.3
Spaces that are effectively built around the type of work that needs to be done can result in more satisfied and productive employees.
More than a workspace, an ‘environment’ designed for employees’ needs
Carefully considered workspaces allow for clear communication. Consider creating areas where people can communicate, collaborate, concentrate and contemplate. Ironically, adding strategic noise to an office environment can help employees focus. White noise, pink noise, and innovative noise management solutions like waterfalls and noise absorbing tiles can block out unwanted noise and create a healthy workspace that fosters individual concentration, as well as encourage team conversations. Additionally, incorporating environmental cues like natural light and plants can boost productivity and lower stress. Ultimately, it’s about thinking of the workspace as an environment unto itself, where it’s easier to think, create, and deliver results.
Bottom line: distraction affects profitability
- Over half of employees say ambient noise reduces their satisfaction at work.4
- 64% of employees say that being able to block out noise and distractions increases their productivity.
- 52% of them say that getting rid of noise and distractions reduces errors in their work.4
- 48% of them agree that when noise and distractions are absent, they can focus on the task in front of them.4
- It takes an average of 23 minutes for people to reorient themselves back to what they were doing before they were distracted.5
- Elevated workplace or environmental noise can cause hypertension, heart disease, annoyance, and sleep disturbance.6
Getting the noise factor right boosts employee satisfaction and drives business value.
- Plantronics Persona Research, 2017.
- "The victims of open offices are pushing back,”http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140911-open-office-victims-push-back.
- "Why The Office Is The Worst Place For Work,” https://www.fastcompany.com/3026355/why-the-office-is-the-worst-place-for-work.
- When the Walls come down,” Oxford Economics, page 3.
- "Can’t get any work done? Blame your noisy, crowded office,” http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/12/pf/distracted-workplace/.
- Passchier-Vermeer W, Passchier WF (2000). “Noise exposure and public health.” Environ. Health Perspect. 108 (Suppl 1): 123 31. doi:10.2307/3454637. JSTOR 3454637. PMC 1637786. PMID 10698728.
- "When the Walls come down,” Oxford Economics, page 9
Smarter Working in Action
Understand the impact of noise on employee productivity and business performance.