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Interface Study Confirms Effects of Noise in the Workplace

Interface What's that Sound? Workplace Noise Study

Global commercial flooring company, Interface, has announced the release of ‘What’s That Sound?,’ a workplace study uncovering the impact of sound and acoustics on employees in business environments. The survey, commissioned by Interface and conducted in partnership with Radius Global Market Research, indicates the majority (63%) of people in the UK say it is critical to have as little noise to be able to work efficiently and effectively.

More than 2,000 workers in the UK, US and Australia took part in the study. It found that 60% of respondents in the UK say noise impacts their concentration, with almost the same percentage saying it makes them feel edgy or irritated.

Noise Offenders
People who completed the survey work in a variety of settings from assigned desks in open environments to shared offices and even cubicles. The top distractions across the world include: conversations among employees (71%), phone conversations (67%), phones ringing (62%) and the sound of people walking around (54%). For the nearly a third that work in an open environment, only a fraction of their offices (31%) offer a place for private phone calls and conversations, revealing a need for more overflow areas, focus rooms or designated quiet areas.

Say Something, Do Nothing
Office workers surveyed suggest a noisy office environment makes it difficult to focus, with 45% of managers worldwide reporting complaints from employees about their difficulties concentrating. However, the results reveal only 31% of workplaces utilise carpeting or area rugs to mitigate noise, and 48% in the UK report that their company do nothing to address noise, leaving employees to address the problem themselves.

A Future Threat
The research indicates that noisy offices cause increased levels of stress and anxiety, with 50% revealing noise levels would impact their decision to accept a job.
In addition to the negative impacts of noise on an employee’s wellbeing, the research reveals the perceived negligence of employers in finding solutions for noise in the workplace.

“When creating workspaces, designers are often asked to apply planning methodologies or specify products based on design trends. They are rarely asked to think about the practical operating needs of a business in real life workplaces. The best designs are those rooted in solutions specific to company culture, environmental aspirations and respect for individual user choice,” explains Lee Mellor, VP/GM UKIME & Nordic. “This study confirms the importance of creating productive workspaces that accommodates a design, planning and a practical workspace lived in environment”.

‘What’s That Sound?’ delivers key findings on the global impact of noise, as well as key regional differences, to inform employers on the importance of acoustical solutions for the current and future workforce.

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