Distractions in the workplace can come in a variety of forms. Noises from traffic outside, smells emanating from the kitchen, an impromptu call for a meeting –– all of these things can break an employee’s focus. However, some offices are so silent, so devoid of distraction that even the smallest disturbance can become a big issue. This leads us to the seemingly paradoxical question: is a quiet office good for productivity? Yes and no. The key to developing a positive workspace environment is about finding balance. Loud, noisy offices aren’t ideal, but neither are cathedral-quiet workspaces that make people feel self conscious.
The Quiet Office Conundrum
In very quiet offices, even the smallest noise can become a point of great annoyance and fixation –– like the clicking of a neighbor’s pen or the tapping of their foot. And if you’ve ever opened a bag of chips in a quiet room, then you know how unsettling it can be to make noise in such a scenario. In fact, certain open office designs make people so uncomfortable that they avoid collaborating with each other. One study noted that face-to-face interactions declined by 70% in these office environments.
Optimal Office Sound Design
Quiet offices aren’t really distracting because they’re too quiet. Rather, they prove troublesome when noise eventually occurs and breaks the silence. Given this fact, office designers can work to eliminate as many distracting noises as possible by creating a sound-optimized layout.
For instance, a company may mitigate against quiet office syndrome by placing related divisions near each other within the office layout. This way, accountants don’t have to be subjected to the constant chatter of a marketing team, for instance.
Additionally, businesses may decide to opt for a compartmentalized office setup, with designated rooms or spaces just for phone calls, brainstorming meetings, or even silent, solo work. Businesses may also decide to invest in design features like modular walls, which can be moved and rearranged on an as-needed basis.
Reducing Office Distractions
As we’ve already established, quiet offices can be just as distracting as noisy ones. Given that fact, businesses can look for creative ways to keep their team members stay focused on their tasks at hand. A few simple, but effective ways to reduce office distractions include:
- Encouraging regular breaks.
- Utilizing a relaxing noise-maker.
- Allowing employees to use headphones.
- Separating noisy from quiet sections of your workspace.
- Adding serene visuals like a fish tank, artwork, or a TV.
Finding the Ideal Noise Level
No two individuals, offices, or companies operate in exactly the same way. Some people thrive in bustling atmospheres. Others need near total isolation to reach their peak. Business owners need to understand the challenges their employees face before they make changes with their office design structure. Otherwise, they could inadvertently make their workspace too loud or too quiet.
Need to cut down on the ambient noise in your office? Or do you need to get your team members up and talking to each other? Or are you struggling to find the right balance between collaborative and individual focus in office design? Regardless of your current office design issues, the team at Key Interiors can help you achieve a positive solution. We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses in the past, and we know what it takes to build offices that optimize productivity. Contact us today, or, for more information, check out our free eBook by clicking here.