How Much Can Noise Affect Your Worker’s Productivity?

Noise is one of the leading causes of employee distractions, leading to reduced productivity and performance, serious inaccuracies, and increased job-related stress. One study showed that workplace distractions cut employee productivity by as much as 40%, and increase errors by 27%.

Another study showed a remarkable 52% difference in the operating incomes between companies with focused employees, versus companies with stressed-out, distracted employees. That means that reducing stress could possibly double your operating income. That’s a pretty powerful motivator.

Since the 1980s, companies have been taking measures to make work environments more conducive to productivity. Such changes have included glare-reducing screens for computer monitors, ergonomic office chairs and equipment, and moving away from harsh fluorescent lighting.

Unfortunately, recent surveys have shown that employees are still unhappy with their work environment, touting excessive noise as their number one complaint. Over 70% of respondents say their workplace is excessively noisy. Over 80% of people who responded said the sound level in their workplace was distracting, and decreased their productivity.

The statistics regarding productivity are astounding. It’s universally accepted that workplace noise distractions are the number one cause of decreased productivity, but you can’t possibly understand the impact until you actually see the numbers.

Several independent and statistically-valid studies have been published recently regarding the effects of reducing noise in the workplace. When noise levels were reduced, focus was improved by a remarkable 40%.

Conversational distractions were reduced by a very impressive 51%. The performance of data-entry workers increased, with a 10% improvement in accuracy. And the physical symptoms of stress were reduced by as much as 27%. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

A recent study at Cornell University found that even low-level office noise could cause employees to make 40% fewer attempts at solving complex or difficult problems, probably caused by a lack of focus brought about by high stress levels, as measured by the levels of epinephrine in their bodies.

Sound masking systems can greatly reduce the level of noise in an environment, reducing stress and increasing accuracy and productivity. These systems can increase worker focus by as much as 40%, causing employees to be better at solving problems, and staying accurate with their work.

Imagine increasing the productivity of your employees by 40%! What do you think that would do to your bottom line? Investing in a good sound masking system is a great way to improve the work environment and increase productivity and morale. It’s also very inexpensive compared to other methods.