No matter if you work in a cubicle farm or an open office workspace, noise distraction is one of the biggest hindrances of productivity that today’s office employees face. Between loud co-workers, noisy printers, an office radio and the occasional cell phone that someone forgot to turn off, there is no limit to the distractions that plague most offices. So what can you do about it? Here are some tips for employees and employers that will help everyone stay better focused and more productive in their day to day work lives.
Speak up. If you don’t tell your manager about the problem then he or she will never know that there’s an issue. Let your boss know that you’re having a hard time focusing on your work due to all of the noise around you. This way, you can come up with a feasible solution together.
Put on your headphones. The easiest way to drown out the sounds around you is to create your own noise. Play music that you know well or instrumental songs that will serve as background noise without being distracting. You may even want to invest in noise cancelling headphones which you can put on without any music to block out the sounds around you.
Telecommute. If you’re the type of person who needs peace and quiet to focus then you may need a job that allows for telecommuting. Even working from home one day a week will allow you to hone in on your work for longer periods of time and to get more work done than trying to battle with a noisy office.
Provide quiet spaces. This is a crucial step toward limiting noise distraction for your employees. More and more businesses have been adding dedicated quiet spaces to their offices every year, and it’s been shown to make a big difference. Try adding a library-like work room to your office in which it is known that employees must keep quiet. Another great idea is to allow employees to rent out conference rooms that are not being used so that they have a place to go to focus.
Provide noisy spaces. Of course, if your office is too quiet then it may hinder employee collaboration and lower morale. To combat this, create designated noise-approved spaces where employees know that they can go to chat. This can be something as casual as an employee lounge or something as formal as a specific conference room. Whatever space you implement for this purpose, make sure that your employees know that they have a place to go for impromptu meetings and casual conversations and that they should be going there to talk rather than talking at their desks.
Bring in sound absorbing materials. Certain types of furniture and décor are made to absorb sound. From felt wall coverings to fabric partitions, there are plenty of ways to create sound barriers in the office. You could even provide employees with cubicle doors or moveable dividers if needed.