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The challenges of noise while on the go

More than 64% of employees have been distracted by background noise around them when on a conference call,including sirens blaring, dogs barking and even toilets flushing!2 That can make employees and your company appear anything but professional. And, with 53% of employees pointing to its negative effects on productivity3 and well-being, the impact of noise on business performance can be substantial. It disrupts an employee’s ability to focus and communicate, which reduces their performance and, ultimately, your profitability.3 That’s why a noise strategy for your mobile workforce is essential.

The top four facts you need to know


56% of the enterprise workforce say that mobility plays a significant role in the way they work.4

As the number of people working on-the-go keeps rising,4 so too do the different ways that noise affects collaboration. It’s a challenge for the employee working from home to focus, the executive on a call from a hotel lobby to be heard or the sales manager dialing in from an airport terminal to hear. Background noise while on the go is distracting at any time and place. But employee productivity is the first thing to be affected.

64% of employees say that being able to block out noise and distractions increases their productivity.5

Ambient noise is one of the biggest challenges when working on the go.5 With 52% of employees agreeing that reducing noise reduces errors in their work,3 companies need to manage noise to ensure success. When background noise is unavoidable, effective solutions include using a high-quality headset with a noise-canceling microphone to compensate.



Environmental noise causes illness3 and reduces employee satisfaction.

A prominent study demonstrates that employees who work in distracting work environments are more prone to a variety of ailments including hypertension and sleep disorders,6 and, as a result, increased absenteeism. Developing a noise management strategy that ensures effective mobile collaboration goes a long way towards improving employee wellness, which increases productivity, job satisfaction and retention.

32% of employees receive no guidance from their company on how to use their technology to optimize noise reduction.4

Even the best tools won’t help your employees unless they know how to use them properly. One of the best ways to empower your mobile workforce is with education and training. Your teams need to have the right technology and to know how to get the most from it. While that could mean a product demo or lunch-and-learn session, often the solution can be as simple as knowing how to position your headset microphone for maximum noise-canceling and voice-enhancing effect. Your IT department should play a lead role in this respect. IT needs to know which workers are remote and the noise management technologies they have at their disposal.

Managing noise effectively requires an understanding of its impact on the workstyles and productivity needs of your mobile workforce. 


1TJ Keitt, “Framing The Business and IT Impact of Mobile and Remote Work,” January 27, 2012, available from Forrester Research.
2Plantronics Global Meeting Productivity Survey, September 2015.
3Oxford Economics, “When the Walls Come Down – The Evolution of the Workplace.”
Plantronics Persona Research, 2017.
5Plantronics Mobile Collaboration Global Survey, 2016.
6Passchier-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.
7Plantronics Persona Research, 2017.