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Three Noisy Things That Slow Productivity in the Workplace

There’s a lot of noises that can disturb employees and slow productivity in the workplace.

The slightest things can deter productivity in the workplace. Work takes a lot of focus and noise pollution can be a horrible distraction. The workplace should be quiet because traces of thought and calculations can be obliterated by even a passing conversation. For those who like to completely immerse themselves in their work, outside sources of sound can be annoying and could make them uncomfortable. For optimum productivity, an employee needs to be completely motivated to work and being uncomfortable doesn’t help. Ironically, people deep in thought can absentmindedly make unnecessary noise like tapping a pen, only adding to noise pollution.

The three noise sources to look out for are:

  • Outside
  • Machines
  • People

The outside world can be noisy, especially in crowded cities like New York. Cars are the biggest contributors to noise pollution from the outside. The city’s always busy and in a rush, so drivers are very aggressive with their car-horns. The worst part is that when one person honks their horn, a chorus follows afterward.

Machines inside of the workplace are just as bad. Place them in a different room and you can still hear the fax machine’s “dial-up tone.” Telephones aren’t any better because their ringing was designed to attract attention. Most printers aren’t that bad and are fairly silent, but the large ones have that distinctive whir.

People are even worse than the machines. Just as much as they promote productivity in the workplace, they can act as an obstruction. People can make a million noises that are irritating when you’re trying to block out everything but work. Noises like the mashing of a keyboard (that isn’t yours), the loud thumps of formal shoes, and the clacking of heels are some of the most common.

While some noises are impossible to avoid, employees should minimize the amount that they make. If everyone could turn down the volume at which they speak or steer clear from any sound that they don’t have to make, then maybe employees can focus less on drowning out disturbances and focus more on increasing productivity in the workplace.

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Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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