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Managing Noise: In the Open Office
The move to open-plan offices has ushered in a new era of improved collaboration and communication as well as huge cost-savings through reduced real estate overhead. But while businesses applaud the move, employees struggle with a new workplace reality that came as a result: noise. It begins as collaboration begins, with people converging and openly exchanging information and ideas. And it’s intensified through the environment itself — via hard and reflective surfaces that amplify sound. But it’s not about open office noise so much as it’s about how it distracts your teams and affects workplace experience and productivity.
Noise is the largest distraction complaint among office workers.1 With 53% of employees pointing to its effect on reduced productivity,2 and 17% of employees say noise in their office is detrimental to their wellness leading to employee absenteeism,3 the impact on business performance can be substantial. It disrupts an employee’s ability to focus and communicate, which reduces their performance and, ultimately, your profitability. That’s why an effective noise strategy for the open office is essential.
1Plantronics Persona Research, 2017.
2Plantronics Noise in the Workplace Global Study, 2017.
3Oxford Economics, “When the Walls Come Down – The Evolution of the Workplace.”