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Managing Noise

Noise reaches everywhere, including your bottom line.

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Manage Noise Where You Work

In an open office. On the go. From a contact center. Wherever your workplace happens to be, noise and distractions are all around. Find out how to create an effective noise management strategy that’s right for your business. Get the latest stats, studies and insights on how noise impacts employee productivity and the customer experience, and means to your bottom line.

2017 Plantronics Global Survey

In 2017, Plantronics surveyed 2,184 professionals from a variety of industries and seven different countries about the effects of noise in the workplace. Each employee worked in an open-space office of more than 500 employees, and worked from there at least once a week. The results were consistent around the world. Noise creates distraction. And distraction undermines employee productivity, customer satisfaction and business performance.

Explore the topics below to see what we found:

What is the primary cause of noise in the workplace?

Select one

Increasing number of employees per square foot of office space.

Fewer private offices and more open spaces for collaboration.

Building modifications using materials that do not absorb sound well (glass, concrete, etc.).

More employee calls in the office space.

See the Survey Results ›

Key finding:

More employees create more noise.

%

Increasing number of employees per square foot of office space.

%

More employee calls in the office space.

%

Fewer private offices and more open spaces for collaboration.

%

Building modifications using materials that do not absorb sound well (glass, concrete, etc.).

As companies move to reduce costs and increase collaboration by placing more workers in open-plan office environments, the unintended by-product is more unwanted noise.

How distracting did survey respondents find the noise in their environment, on a scale of one to five (with five indicating "extremely distracting")?

See the Survey Results ›
Select one

1

2

3

4

5

Key finding:

Unwanted noise is a disruptive force.

Unwanted noise is causing distraction in your office. In fact, more than 82% of respondents said they are distracted by noise at least once a day.

Do you believe you would be more productive in a less noisy environment?

See the Survey Results ›
Select one

Yes

No

Key finding:

Noise affects productivity above all.

%

Yes

Employees can see the implications of noise in the workplace and how it affects job performance, with more than 48% of respondents citing loss of focus as a key factor.

Have your customers ever complained to you about noise they could hear from your end of the call?

See the Survey Results ›
Select one

Yes

No

Key finding:

Customers are less than satisfied.

%

Yes

Background noise can also be heard by customers on the other end of the call. It makes it difficult to hear what’s being said, and leads to a poor customer experience.

Has your company taken any action to remedy the noisy environment?

See the Survey Results ›
Select one

Yes

No

Key finding:

Most companies are blind to the issue.

%

No

Most companies understand the benefits of open-plan workspaces: reduced costs and increased collaboration. But few understand what distraction and inability to focus can mean for employees, and how that can affect customers and business overall.

What's the Real Cost of Noise?

How much of a financial impact can distraction caused by noise really have on your bottom line? The results may surprise you.

Calculate the Impact

Manage Noise: A Strategic Guide

Find out about the implications of noise as they relate to where and how your employees work. Understand the most common workstyles of your teams and how to better manage noise for improved wellness and productivity. And discover the communication-based principles that inform a noise management strategy designed for your employees — wherever they work.

Select your typical workplace

Oxford Economics Global Study

Bridging the management-employee disconnect about noise in the workplace.

Oxford Economics, in collaboration with Plantronics, surveyed more than 1,200 senior executives and non-executive employees around the world and across industries to better understand the challenges of the modern workplace. The results show that workers and their managers see things very differently — with the most notable disconnect being the effects of noise in the workplace. It’s a perception gap that threatens employee engagement, productivity and overall satisfaction.

Here are the gaps we found:

Employees are frustrated — and managers don’t get it.

Ambient noise reduces my/my employees’ satisfaction and productivity.
%

Employees

GAP

18%
%

Executives


I/my employees have the tools needed to filter out distractions at work.
%

Employees

GAP

22%
%

Executives

Noise and distraction are larger issues than most executives realize — and can have detrimental effects on employee engagement and productivity.

Executives don’t see the frustration because they experience work differently.

I have a private office.
%

Employees

GAP

48%
%

Executives


I have the tools needed to do my job from anywhere.
%

Employees

GAP

19%
%

Executives

Most executives don’t have to deal with unwanted noise and distractions, and can focus on their work from their office or on the go. This view can negatively impact the design and effectiveness of future offices, as well as the productivity of current workspaces.

Collaboration is a priority — for all.

Having a space to collaborate/facilitate employee collaboration is a top priority.
Strongly
Agree

Employees

GAP

0%
Strongly
Agree

Executives

Employees and executives understand and agree that collaboration is a major key to increased productivity. Employees fight to get it. And executives try to incorporate it.

Reducing noise is a priority — for employees.

Employees actively take steps to drown out noise.
%

Employees

GAP

37%
%

Executives


Employees say that ambient noise affects their productivity.
%

Employees

GAP

53%
%

Executives

The need for focus and uninterrupted concentration is the number one priority for employees, yet it is rarely in the plans for executives considering open-plan offices.

This perception gap is far from being bridged.

For executives, minimizing distractions scored as the lowest consideration when designing open-plan spaces.
%

Employees

GAP

51%
%

Executives

Only 18% of employees responded that management has successfully taken steps to reduce noise issues.

Executives need to better understand the challenges of unwanted noise, and its effect on employee engagement and productivity.

Design and Technology at Work, Naturally

Our office in the Netherlands was conceived and built to demonstrate how the perfect marriage of acoustic expertise, technology and biophilic design (incorporating elements from nature) results in better employee wellness and productivity. Our objective was to create a balanced environment that encourages people to use any space in the building as their workspace — to collaborate, communicate, concentrate or maintain confidentiality. In addition to being a state-of-the-art office facility housing a fully functioning contact center, the building also serves as a living lab — showcasing and demonstrating how our noise management solutions are being used in real-world applications every day. Through the intelligent combination of architecture, Plantronics audio solutions and the Habitat Soundscaping service, noise is managed by way of design and technology. And efficiency is enhanced for both the business and the employee.

Make Your Open Office Work

Learn how Habitat Soundscaping service encourages employee collaboration and productivity or discover how to create a noise management strategy for your work place.

Visit Habitat Soundscaping View the Managing Noise Guide

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