The open office generates significant noise, and a new study proves that this might affect workers' psychological and physical well-being.
As people return to the open office after lock down, it is opportune to reflect on how effective the open-office environment is. According to a study undertaken by Libby Sanders of Bond University, when workers in an open office were subjected to combined noises of phones, printing and people talking, they experienced an increase in stress. Managers should try to mitigate against the effects of noise in the workplace by introducing office protocols and strategies such as:
- Encouraging people to make phone calls away from desks.
- Discouraging meetings within cubicles and open areas.
- Applying acoustic treatment or sound masking technology.
Some commentators are concerned that post-covid organisations are leasing less office space, which might lead to higher noise concentrations when people return to an open plan office.
- Apr 2021 The Wall Street Journal. The Post-Pandemic Office Is Already Here—in Australia
- Jun 2020 Very Well Mind. How Noise Pollution Might Cause Increased Stress Levels
- Jul 2021 Axiom. Sound effects – The impact of noise on employee productivity
- Jul 2021 Paradise Computing. Open Plan Offices Create Noise Stress