Office Noise Can Increase Tension and Stress
Improving acoustics with office soundproofing pays for itself by the increase in your company’s productivity. Although some people think that they function efficiently in a noisy and hectic environment, research shows that decibel levels over 60 can reduce a person’s attention span. This can become a problem in an office environment where productivity is the order of the day and has a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
Noise in the workplace can increase tension and stress and lower productivity for workers who are exposed to low to moderate levels throughout the day, according to a 2001 Cornell University study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. A normal conversation takes place at about 60 decibels and usual office background noise ranges from approximately 45-55 decibels. When workers are placed close together in open rooms or in rooms with many people talking at the same time, decibel levels can rise to 70 decibels and higher. Decibel is a term used to measure sound. Every 10 decibel increase of sound is perceived to be twice as loud to the human ear. Exposure to sounds of 85 decibels or higher over a prolonged period can cause hearing damage. For this reason, workplace noise is regulated by most countries.
Office work is a mental activity that requires concentration and focus. Complex tasks such as programming, engineering, writing, analysis, and design work often involve the psychological state of flow. This is a fragile state of concentration that can take fifteen minutes or more to engage and is easily broken by distractions such as irrelevant speech or someone interrupting unexpectedly.