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Noisy offices are driving down productivity and contributing to staff retention problems

One in five workers aged under 30 have resorted to physical violence because of noise and distractions at their workplace, new research has revealed.

Oscar Acoustics polled 2,000 workers and discovered that not only can a noisy workplace lead to physical altercations, but it has a hugely negative impact on productivity with 60% of those surveyed claiming they were unable to concentrate and were delivering lower quality work as a result of loud workspace. A further 20% did not think their bosses were doing enough to combat the issues.

Only 8% of UK employees work in a quiet office, according to the research, with the top noise irritants identified by the survey respondents being colleagues talking to one another (38%), people on calls (34%), the sound of people eating (21%) and co-workers singing/humming (19%).

As a result, 17% of workers admit to snapping at their colleagues, with a further 16% raising grievances with HR/bosses and 11% resorting to leaving out passive-aggressive notes.

However, although 20% of employees don’t feel their bosses have done enough to address the issues, the survey respondents admitted that most companies had made some attempt to adjust the office environment to solve noise-based problems. Some 26% of employers had raised a physical barrier, 25% had arranged training for noisy people, and 21% had installed soundproofing.

Commenting on the study, Ben Hancock from Oscar Acoustics said: “Employers are facing real challenges around staffing and needing to achieve the same results with fewer people.

That’s why bosses must consider how employees can use workspaces most effectively. This means understanding that while aesthetics are important, you also have to consider how people work and ensure that there are spaces for collaboration, concentration and


“Noise may seem a minor irritant, but not addressing this could hurt your business’s bottom line and put your employee’s health at risk.”

Premises and Facilities Management September 2022


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