Are your colleagues making a ‘racket’? How to deal with a noisy office.
With Wimbledon in full swing and a growing popularity towards airing major sporting events in the office, we explore how a ‘racket’ can cause major distractions for some employees, and tips for overcoming them.
Shortly after the London Olympics, research from The Institute of Leadership and Management revealed that 41% of employers allowed their employees to watch the games; with 79% of businesses surveyed saying jobs weren’t affected.
It’s easy to see how there can be many benefits to having the likes of the World Cup and Wimbledon on in the background, not least the prevention of staff calling in sick and boosting morale.
However, a recent study by Plantronics found that only 1% of employees can block out distractions and with an upward trend towards open-plan offices, broadcasting football and tennis may only make matters worse.
If you’re not a sporting fan or worse, suffer from misophonia (high sensitivity to sound), then try out these simple tactics to tackle the ‘racket’ at work.
Book out a meeting room
In most open-plan offices, there will be quiet spaces and meeting rooms that are unlikely to be used throughout the whole day. Speak to your managers and ask if you can use that space, particularly during periods of intense noise.
Use noise cancelling headphones
It’s one of the more obvious choices, but investing in a good pair of earphones could make all the difference. If you can easily zone out and concentrate on your work while listening to Radio 2, or whatever your guilty pleasure, then you may find this helps to create a calming environment and improve your productivity. However, you need to remember that having your music up too loud could be a distraction to others as well, so be mindful.
Nobody wants to put Baby in the corner, but it could be the ideal solution for you. Taking yourself away from the middle of the hustle and bustle of the office can have a real positive impact. If your office lacks partitions and sound friendly furniture, then try and block yourself in on as many sides as possible in the space available.
Take a walk
Numerous studies have found that taking regular breaks can increase productivity, but it’s also a great way of collecting yourself. Once noise levels have started to irritate you, your annoyance will only grow. Go for a walk around the block for a few moments of quiet repose and when you return to your desk, you’ll find it easier to ignore the sounds that had become so intense.
Work from home
Depending on your line of work, you should explore whether there are any opportunities to work remotely from time to time. If you are working on a project that requires particular attention to detail or are up against a deadline, then your employer should appreciate that you will need time and space to focus.