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The office environment is often bad for the concentration of users.


The Office environment is often bad for the concentration of users. The company Plantronics reports that as a result of a UK research that was commissioned by this manufacturer. In the research, which was carried out by No Ties in March 2017, 525 employees were asked about their wishes. It turns out that there is a large discrepancy between what employees want and what they get.

The importance of accoustics

(Photographer: Vincent Hartman)

Companies seem to want to save costs when designing offices and take little to no measures to reduce noise pollution. This is striking because many workers report annoying noises experienced during their working day. Previous research by Opinion Matters showed that this has negative consequences for their productivity and well-being. 

Office environment is often bad for the concentration

The research of No Ties shows that three quarters of the respondents that work on an open office space, 61 percent experience in the workplace. Over one quarter (27 percent) indicates that working in a less open space leads to better work performance. Other factors that improve the work performance: an office with separate areas for different activities (33 percent), a private room (29 percent), more homework capabilities (24 percent), lower sound levels (21 percent) and better sound insulation (20 percent). 

Especially in buildings that consist of large concrete and glass sections and that do not have a good sound insulation the staff productivity goes down. Those buildings should be on the planning list of office refurbishment Edinburgh. That applies to 67 percent of the respondents who work in a building with a mediocre to poor acoustics. Buildings are clearly designed for the eye, not for the ear. On the edge of the city of Edinburgh and in the South of the country are the two regions where most buildings are located with a nice appearance but bad acoustics.

Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents think that the main reason was cost saving in the interior design of the offices where they work. If second dynamic is stimulating interactions between employees (39 percent) and as the third reason the ability to work effectively with colleagues and often (35 percent). Only 13 percent think minimizing noise in the Office was the priority in the interior design and no more than 7 percent think the main criterion was the exclusion of environmental noise. Also according to the respondents not enough attention has been paid to the productivity (23%), satisfaction (18 percent) and privacy (10 percent). 

Desk location 

Sound pollution caused by colleagues is at the top as a factor that most adversely affect the productivity (40 percent). Also the location of the noise seems to play along at workplaces. Almost a quarter (24 percent) indicates that his office in a noisy environment, such as next to a coffee corner, entrance or toilet. Reception desks like the one at Lochrin Square Edinburgh are notorious for noise. Lack of separate areas for different types of activities (such as which require concentration, cooperation, communication or serve for relaxation) is for 16 percent a flaw and bad acoustics in the office for 15 percent.

In the absence of any form of distraction 56 percent would be better concentrated, 44 percent would improve their productivity and 35 percent would make fewer mistakes. Over a quarter (26 percent) indicate in that case to experience less stress and 19 percent would be less tired. To become better able to concentrate and to shut down by distractions, put 15 percent wear a headset. Another 30 percent used a headset to listen to music and to be productive.

“The results of this survey confirm our suspicions,” said Glen Scott, country manager UK at Plantronics. “Daily we are concerned with creating good sound experiences to people for smarter and more productive work. Because we know how important sound in a work environment, we have a whole new office designed based on the needs of our employees. This means that sound is absorbed, blocked and obscured by the materials used, smart technologies and natural features such as waterfalls. On each floor are different spaces created to collaborate, to communicate, to focus or relax.