Disruptive noise is everywhere in offices – telephones, chatter from colleagues, noise from printers and other office services. They are part and parcel of office life, despite being particularly distracting for workers and contributing to low productivity. Studies have shown that two of the most vital attributes of a functioning office worker, reading comprehension and memory, are those most sensitive to environmental noise.
“Research indicates that noise reduces office workers’ motivation…and can have serious consequences in the workplace where employees and organisations are expected to compete in a rapidly changing economy” –Maxwell, 2000
Modern offices are often without partitions and cubicles – exposing workers to nearby conversations . Unfortunately, conversations have been shown to be particularly distractive for workers, harming the ability to concentrate: workers exposed to just one nearby conversation have been shown to make workers up to 66% less productive.