Excessive noise has a negative effect on the focus and productivity of individuals. Therefore, understanding and controlling unwanted noise is crucial in order to maintain a high level of focus and productivity in any work environment.
In open-plan offices, complaints about background noise, poor acoustics and lack of privacy are among the most common problems reported to facility managers. Studies have shown that after being distracted, it can take over 23 minutes on average for individuals to regain focus. (Source: University of California Irvine) This substantially decreases the productivity of people in rooms with high noise levels, which affects both the individuals performance and organizations they work for. In addition, the increase in modern open-office plans, which account for 73% of all offices in the UK, fosters collaboration between employees, but also increases opportunities for distractions. (Source: Sound Zero) Studies show that 50% of people have a hard time concentrating in these open-office spaces, which affects the ability to perform and execute work at a high level of quality and output. Therefore, the ring of phones, the sounds of the devices, and the conversations between other employees are examples of distractions that need to be addressed because they affect the focus and productivity of many individuals. Not only does it affect the short-term performance of an individual and an organization, but it also has long-term effects on the individual's health and wellbeing, the overall satisfaction with their job, and the employee retention for the organization. Since unpleasant noises do not contribute to the overall well-being and work environment of employees, they should be minimized to achieve organizations strategic and financial goals.
Fortunately these issues can be resolved. If a space is designed to ensure focus and productivity are prioritized, then there can be many positive outcomes for individuals in the spaces and for the organizations as a whole. A space that has been acoustically treated can benefit an individual by increasing their focus up to 50% and decreasing their stress up to 30%, which leads to a more focused and higher performing person. (Source: AXIOM workplaces) It will also be able to help them make better and faster decisions, make less errors, improve social interactions, be more satisfied with their workplace, listen better, and increase their overall wellbeing at work. Even if you are not fully aware that you are being impacted by the acoustic environment surrounding you, your focus, productivity, and wellbeing are all being affected by the environment you are in.
Through a correct analysis of the room and the use of the right acoustic solutions, the overall room acoustics are improved. This creates a long-term solution for the future to optimally support the performance but also the well-being of the people involved.
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