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What Are Recommended Noise Levels In Offices?

Have you recently noticed that the noise levels in your office are considerably high? Whether it’s a couple of colleagues discussing their work, or the radio repeatedly playing the top 40; the negative impact of unnecessary workplace noise can reduce vital  productivity and the standard of your workplace.

As you may have noticed, it’s impossible to please everyone in the office. Some may like listening to music while others would prefer complete silence. It’s important to establish a happy medium between you and your colleagues in order to complete your work set. If the office you work in is open plan, achieving this happy medium could be rather difficult; however, it’s not completely impossible.

How To Reduce Noise In The Office

Unlike working with noisy machinery there are no health requirements to follow when working in a noisy office. However, it is important that everyone can concentrate and no one is distracted so much that they can’t work. If you feel as though there’s too much noise in your office you should let people know so that they can reduce it or move somewhere else for group meetings and discussions.

According to Techradar, open plan offices can make you 66% less productive. You may still be completing your work, however, you can also be unaware that noise is becoming a distraction. An open plan office is prone to noise, but the layout of the furniture could be a first step into reducing sound from across the room. If meetings are held in the same room where you work then you could place the table at one side, away from other colleagues and also introduce screens so that the sound is blocked.

Additionally, if you prefer to work in silence, you can face your desk away from the noise and activity happening elsewhere in the office so that you have complete concentration. Furthermore, screens, plants, and noise reducing pads are also an easy and effective way to reduce sound while you’re working. Having to listen to noise when you don’t want to can be annoying and can cause increased anger; it is important to stay calm and relaxed at work in order to concentrate on your work and keep your productivity high.

Should There Be Music In Offices?

Recommended noise levels in offices is a different preference for everybody and it’s important that each colleague is satisfied with the amount of sound that they can hear throughout the day. Listening to music at work can be an effective way to reduce the levels of stress and to provide a relaxed atmosphere, which is important to keep your productivity high. However, if you find that music is restricting you from concentrating then it is also okay to ask for it to be turned down or off.

Different types of music produce different atmospheres and it’s important that if you are listening to music at work, then you are listening to the right kind. Classical music or songs with no lyrics are an efficient way to work with a background noise that isn’t distracting. Also, noise cancelling headphones are an effective way to block out the sound of other things going on around you in the office, whether it’s a ringing phone or colleagues talking.

Everyone has different opinions about working with noise and throughout the day it is important that there is a variety between music and silence so that each colleague can concentrate. Depending on your job and the type of office, the recommended noise levels can differ. If your job involves answering the phone frequently, then it may be more beneficial to not have music playing as well as having other distractions going on it can also distract employees whilst they are talking to customers.

How To Manage Noise Effectively

Noise in the office can be a difficult task to manage as it happens at different times every day. If you’re struggling to concentrate and feel like the noise can’t be stopped, don’t worry as there are many ways to lower the levels of sound in your workspace.

You could alternate spaces to work during your day and this way will enable you to work in a louder area with more of a relaxed atmosphere when you want. And when you feel like you need to concentrate, move to a quieter area of the office with calming music which allows you to focus properly. This way, you won’t become bored sitting in one place all day and you and other colleagues get to choose whether to sit in a noisy or quiet area which will keep everyone satisfied.

Everyone works differently, therefore, speaking to employees individually will allow you to understand how your employees prefer to work, as some enjoy listening to the radio and general chit chat and others will work better in complete silence. Depending on the office space creating different areas for employees to go to work silently may be impossible; therefore, when talking to your employees you can get an idea of what they think will work.

Involving employees in ways of how to manage noise levels could produce ideas you may have not thought of and also you get a good idea of what they will be happy to do, and giving employees who enjoy listening to music headphones could be a solution to keeping the office quiet for those who enjoy working in those conditions, but also considering the employees who enjoy listening to music.

If you want to know more ways in which you can manage noise within the office then read our blog post on ‘how to prevent office noise harming productivity’.

What Worker Are You?

As mentioned above, everyone is different and will work at their best in different situations. By talking to employees, you will discover what type of worker they are and how they prefer to work. This will allow you to change your office layout to suit your employees and get the best out of them. We have created a free downloadable eZine which describes the different types of workers and what they find distracting.

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