A recent survey has concluded that noisy offices are negatively affecting workers’ wellbeing, their productivity and their stress levels.

The findings are based on the Noise and Wellbeing at Work Survey 2019, recently commissioned by the Remark Group, which supplies sound masking solutions, and supported by environmental psychologist and workplace strategist Dr Nigel Oseland.

The company’s survey of 1000 UK-based office workers highlighted the following:

  • Around 65% of respondents reported that noise in the workplace impacted on their ability to complete work in an accurate and timely manner.

  • Nearly half (44%) said that noise had a negative impact on their overall wellbeing.

  • Over 40% reported that noise at work caused them to feel stressed.

  • Some 52% of people report they are interrupted by noise distractions more than five times in a working day, with 17% stating that they are interrupted by noise more than 10 times a day.

According to the Remark Group, recent research suggests that every time we are interrupted, it takes 15 minutes to get back in a state of focus. This could mean over an hour of wasted time each day for over half of the workforce, contributing significantly to lost productivity.

Dr Nigel Oseland said, “Remark’s research shows that noise is the biggest cause of dissatisfaction in the modern workplace, along with an associated loss of performance, increased stress and poorer wellbeing.

“As more companies are adopting open plan design and agile working, the core challenge to the workplace community, designers and suppliers is to resolve office noise distraction and enhance focused work, while maintaining collaborative and creative environments.”

Last reviewed 15 March 2019