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This 1 Thing Could Be Killing Your Employees' Productivity

By Maurie Backman - Aug 17, 2019 at 8:04AM

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Hint: It's something that's hard to avoid.

The more productive your employees are, the more value they'll offer. But most people who work in an office environment are negatively impacted by one unavoidable factor: noise.

In fact, 70% of global employees say that office noise hurts them during the workday, reports The problem has gotten so bad that 16% of workers have chosen to work remotely because of it.

If noise is a major problem in your workplace, it's imperative that you address the issue -- before your workers' productivity suffers and your bottom line follows suit.

Workers need quiet

There's apt to be some level of noise in any given office environment, whether it's chitchat among colleagues, ringing phones, or the sound of other people's fingers furiously typing away on computer keyboards. The problem? Noise can not only be distracting, but actually serve as a form of workplace stress. This especially holds true for employees whose jobs require greater levels of concentration.

Woman sitting in front of a table of men in suits, covering her ears

Image source: Getty Images.

Unfortunately, employers aren't doing a good enough job of tackling the issue. In fact, 44% of employees say that their companies aren't prioritizing the noise problem.

Further fueling the issue is the recent popularity of the open office environment -- a setup that perhaps lends well to collaboration, but also makes the noise factor even worse. But even in a more traditional cubicle setup, most employees aren't eligible for a private office with a door that closes, which means they're still subject to noise on a regular basis.

Solving the office noise problem

If noise is a problem at your place of work, there are ways to alleviate the issue for your employees. First, consider designating noise-free areas in the office where people can work in peace. If you have larger conference rooms, you might allow employees to sign up for spots in those spaces during periods when they're tackling challenging projects, or otherwise need a break from distractions.

Another option? Allow employees to work from home, if not on a full-time basis, then at least on a partial one. This is an especially viable option for workers who have proven they can do their jobs without supervision.

Being flexible with scheduling can also help. If you're willing to let your employees set their own hours, those who are more prone to noise-related stress can opt to come in early when the office is at its quietest, and then leave the office ahead of their peers. Along these lines, you might agree to let employees come in on a Saturday or Sunday, when the office is almost guaranteed to be empty, and take a day off during the week instead.

Finally, if there's really no space for quiet areas at your place of work, offer your employees a generous allowance for the purchase of noise-canceling headphones. A higher-end pair could work wonders.

No matter what you do to address your workplace's noise problem, be sure to take it seriously. The longer you let your employees struggle, the more miserable they're apt to grow.

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