How to reduce noise in office

Julia van Ramshorst
Noise in the office

Noise pollution in an office space causes great irritation and lowers productivity 

An unhappy employee is the last thing you want as an entrepreneur. After all, unhappy employees perform much less well than their happy colleagues. One of the factors that strongly contributes to the level of happiness of employees is the noise level at the office. Noise pollution is not only annoying, but can also significantly reduce concentration and thus productivity. 

Working and noise in open offices 

Open plan offices are extremely popular these days and are often praised for the positive effect they have on employees. Due to the open character of an office, employees no longer have the feeling that the walls are closing in on them, they work together more easily and quickly, and the often-lively atmosphere increases productivity. However, there is also a downside, the point where noise pollution gets the upper hand and cancels out the positive effect of an open plan office. In the larger cities, such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, there are many coworking spaces and here too this is sometimes the case. These are open-plan offices where various freelancers, start-ups and flex-workers are based.  

Noise pollution in open offices 

Research carried out at the University of Sydney has shown that 25 to 30 percent of employees in an open-plan office experience noise pollution. In some (exorbitant) cases, this can cost up to 86 minutes of productivity per day. The most distracting noise is the sound of conversation. Especially the conversation between two people and to a lesser extent telephone conversations. You probably recognise it yourself. Two employees sitting a little too far apart (or even on opposite sides of the office) and having loud discussions are simply distracting. 

Our concentration can only cope with a limited number of stimuli. An overload when adding (conversational) sound makes it possible to reach the maximum capacity. As a result, you get distracted, lose attention, productivity and sometimes even information. 

Noises are not by definition a nuisance 

Noises are not always negative. In fact, a little noise in the office can even contribute to a positive, productive working atmosphere. A completely silent office is certainly not positive either. It makes it impossible to have a private conversation. Moreover, it damages the level of cooperation between employees. 

Do you experience noise pollution at the office? 

If you yourself are bothered by noise at the office, you can choose to work with music. However, this can also cause distraction and loss of concentration, especially when singing. This is because your brain is automatically searching for the words that follow and completing the text. The best music to listen to is background music, because you don't have to think about it. 

What can you do about this as an entrepreneur? 

Read part 2 of this blog soon and we will tell you exactly what measures you can take to ensure that noise pollution in the office does not occur.