How to Survive a Noisy Office
Some of the most productive offices are the noisiest offices! Brainstorming sessions, conference calls, inspired impromptu collaboration sessions, phones ringing, client visits … all of these things signal that great things are happening. You could say that these cumulative sounds make up a soundtrack for success. If your particular role demands peace and quiet, though, and you are not blessed with four walls and a door, you may struggle in the midst of this necessary noise. Here are a few strategies you can employ to achieve relief.
Invest in A Good Set of Noise-cancelling Headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones significantly muffle background noise, so you can hear your thoughts – or your music, if that’s what helps you focus. An added benefit of wearing headphones is that coworkers will be less likely to bother you.
Noise-absorbing materials. Decorate your work space with textiles (a rug, pillows, etc.) that will absorb sound. You’ll still hear it, but it won’t be quiet as loud.
Schedule your time strategically. If you’re able to come into work a little earlier (or stay later) than most of your coworkers, you’ll benefit from chunks of quiet time. You can schedule your most concentration-intense tasks (such as reading or writing complex reports) during those periods.
Talk to your employer. Your employer’s top priority is probably to have a motivated, loyal, and productive team of employees. When that’s in place, success follows, naturally.
If your productivity is being affected by noise, it’s probable that other employees are also struggling. While it may not be feasible to allot offices to each employee, there are other noise-reducing office design solutions your employer can pursue.
For example, noise-absorbing acoustic panels and/or cubicles can significantly reduce ambient sound. Another popular office design trend is incorporating quiet rooms or pods throughout an open or semi-open concept office. Employees can schedule time in these quiet zones or simply pop in and close the door when they need to concentrate fully without distraction.
Dealing with a noisy office can be a nuisance. Try to keep your eye on the prize and view noise as the buzz of progress … then put your headphones back on!