People rushing in the open-plan office.

Distractions at work and noise kill productivity

Workplace distractions come in many forms. One of the leading causes of distractions at work is noise.

Although sounds are not the only source of distractions at work, noise is a notable cause of frustration, as nearly every office worker can tell you. Noise is not just a minor nuisance that hinders focus; it can have a great toll on physical, cognitive and social well-being at the workplace. With lowered productivity, distractions at work are bad for the employer’s bottom line as well. Here are some negative effects of office noise and solutions for dealing with distractions at work.

Negative effects of distracting noise on physical health

Office workers’ physical health is only one piece of the puzzle in their overall wellbeing but one they are most likely to notice first when it suffers. Distractions at work can lead to increased levels of stress. 

Although short-term stress can help us thrive in challenging situations, prolonged stress can lead to many harmful health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, fatigue, poor sleep, and tension in the body.

Prolonged exposure to loud sounds is also a risk factor for hearing loss. Especially abrupt and irregular sounds are effective at disrupting focus. Employers can take care of office workers’ well-being by ensuring that office noise never reaches harmful levels. In an office environment, employees should have enough quiet areas, such as soundproof office pods and meeting rooms, for working in private and escaping harmful workplace distractions.

According to research, the optimal level of office noise is 50 decibels. Sound levels above but also below that negatively affect physiological well-being. Framery office pods provide the ideal level of sound reduction in a noisy and distracting office environment. When tested in a Turku University of Applied Sciences study, the Framery O outmatched other pods in the market with a speech level reduction of 30.3 dB.

People working in open-plan office.

Common distractions at the office and cognitive well-being

Everyone working in an office is an individual, and people’s ability to endure distracting sounds and other stimuli varies. Yet, many are familiar with the negative consequences that distracting office noise can have on their cognitive and emotional well-being.

Although office workers can do a lot to reduce office interruptions, such as social media sites and other technology, often it is beyond their control to minimize distractions that hinder their work. Some of the most common distractions at an office are different kinds of sound and noise, such as phone calls, loud colleagues and constant notifications. 

Once distracted from the task at hand, it can take more than 20 minutes to regain focus.

Unfortunately, today’s office workers encounter workplace distractions at such a rapid rate that they rarely reach a state of flow. Not surprisingly, this has a great toll on employee productivity and psychological well-being. 

Constant noisy workplace distractions affect productivity by causing cognitive overload on the employee. As if multitasking was not hard enough, the average employee has to deal with a number of unnecessary digital distractions and different sources of noise at the office. This leads to poor decision-making and an increased number of errors that could be avoided just by minimizing distractions at work.

Office distractions and communication at the workplace

The most common workplace distractions can impair people’s relationships with their coworkers. Loud office gossip and noisy coworkers are among the top workplace distractions and are not always easy to avoid without conflict. 

This is why offices should have dedicated spaces for less formal interaction, meetings and collaboration. Similarly, there should be quiet spaces where employees can have private conversations or escape a noisy open office to get more focus-heavy tasks done in private. Framery provides larger soundproof office booths, such as the Framery 2Q, that are big enough for group meetings and brainstorming in small teams of up to six people.

Framery One soundproof office pod in an open space with a person working inside of it while others have a conversation just next to it.

Reduce workplace distractions and boost productivity

Distractions at work can be a notable cause of lost productivity and poor job performance. In some cases, these can be caused by different digital tools, cell phones, social media, mindless scrolling on the internet, and notification sounds. Yet, many common distractions have to do with office noise and can be solved with proper design and good acoustics at the workplace.

Help employees stay focused, avoid distractions, and increase productivity with quiet areas free of distractions. Framery office pods provide industry-leading office soundproofing for distraction-free private work, videoconferencing, and meetings in small groups.
The Framery One and Framery O single-person office pods provide just the right amount of sound reduction for privacy. The pods can be placed even amidst noisy open offices where distractions are common. The Framery Q and Framery 2Q office booths are perfect for small group meetings. With the optimal video meeting technology, the booths allow hybrid meetings with remote participants as well.

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