16 October Keeping Productivity Up and Distractions Down
Companies with engaged employees outperform those without [engaged workers] by 202% according to a Gallup Employee Engagement Report
While we all agree that increasing workplace productivity is essential for any business to thrive, too often the focus is just on active solutions: scheduling breaks, increasing employee accountability, or incorporating morale boosting exercises.
One of the biggest potential problems remains unaddressed: Distractions. Almost nothing can sap productivity like being interrupted by random noises, gossip, or even a conversation that might be productive for the people having it. Can you hear a solution knocking? Say hello to your sound dampening fix!
The building your company inhabits should be an ally, not an adversary. Imagine walls that work to help deaden sound rather than amplifying it and layouts that stop sound tunnels or echoes. Your company needs a workplace that fosters collaboration while equally allowing for private, individual work. Almost nothing can make an employee disengage from their work like being distracted, even subconsciously. The best way to minimize those distractions doesn’t start with policies, it starts with the physical environment.
Different spaces call for different solutions and for most organizations there is no one size fits all Band-Aid. So before you go out there and find innovative ways to build the sound proof office of your dreams, there are a few things you need to consider.
Balance is Key
Only 25% of workers report having a balance of collaborative and personal spaces. It is vital to create an environment where employees have separate spaces for meetings and impromptu collaborative discussions without the risk of the noise from these interactions disrupting those outside these conversations. It is equally important to create isolated personal spaces to break off for individual work. It is all about creating the right balance of spaces for each individual office because really, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Sound, the Silent Killer
Psychologist Nick Perham, a sound specialist, writes in Applied Cognitive Psychology that auditory distractions in the workplace account for:
- Decreasing information recall
- Hampering mathematical ability
- Lowering the number of ergonomic adjustments workers makes throughout the day
One thing that auditory distractions increased: epinephrine levels. Motivation and creativity dropped while agitation climbed. In other words, privacy promotes performance.
A Time and a Place for Discussion
Collaboration and group work is vitally important, but if the noise created by those activities spills into the rest of the office space it can have a problematic effect on everyone else. By creating specifically designed spaces that incorporate sound dampening solutions for these activities, like those that can be created with our Blox and Flox products, auditory and visual distractions can be minimized. A meeting in a properly situated space can go on without distracting other workers. To go a step further, incorporating a solution like Hush, designed to create a quiet environment for telephone conversations or smaller meetings, allows employees more options to find the specific workplace environment that best fits their needs while not impacting the performance of their peers.
Personal, Private, and Productive
Unless you build each employee a bunker (not recommended) completely eliminating workplace distraction is, of course, impossible. Minimizing such distractions, however, can prove invaluable, increasing productivity and innovation while decreasing time wasting and agitation. Particularly in a workplace already utilizing Blox and Flox for their meeting places, the same systems can be used to create individual work areas. To take advantage of the fantastic ideas generated in those meetings, people need an environment with minimized distractions where they can work privately.
While creating any of these environments provides a particular benefit, it is really having all of them working together that can allow for the best office design solution for you.