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White Noise Systems in Offices

Last Updated: January 16, 2016

How to Minimize Distractions & Increase Productivity

Office distractions can negatively affect productivity. Everything from text alerts to auto-play videos online to nearby coworkers having a conversation can prevent other employees from getting things done.

Some studies show that on average, an employee has only three minutes of consistent focus before he gets interrupted or self-interrupts. In one survey, fewer than half of respondents reported being able to work interruption-free for even 15 minutes at a time. Then some of these interruptions last as long as 23 minutes.

It’s easy to see that, with so many stimulants in today’s workplace, most employees lose hours of productivity every week because they get sidetracked. This lost productivity amounts to more than $10,000 in lost revenue per employee per year.

Workplace Solutions to Combat Auditory Distractions

While some of the top productivity killers – texting, using social media and browsing amusing websites – are the individual employee’s fault and must be addressed with the employee directly, other distractions are out of the employee’s control. Things such as office chatter and alerts from a co-worker’s phone are auditory distractions you can gain control over on an office-wide level.

Here are some ideas to minimize these distractions and keep productivity high in your office:

  • Quiet rooms: If you’ve ever ridden on a passenger train, you should be familiar with the concept of “quiet cars.” Similarly, quiet rooms are dedicated spaces set aside for employees who need to devote their undivided attention to an important task. Only non-group work is allowed in a quiet room, which can help individual workers be more productive than at a shared desk or open office floor plan.
  • Noise-canceling headphones: Wearing ear buds at the office might not be acceptable, but a pair of noise-canceling headphones is a pretty clear sign an employee doesn’t want to be bothered. It’s also an opportunity to play ambient music and further drown out distractions. This is a particularly useful sound masking technique in open offices where shutting a door to block interruptions isn’t an option.
  • White noise systems: While these can’t put an end to distracting websites or prevent procrastination among employees, white noise systems can help reduce auditory distractions in the office. White noise contains a blend of all audible frequencies distributed equally over the frequency band. Essentially, it’s an unnoticeable, non-distracting, neutral sound similar to the sound of airflow designed to mask other noises in the office, thus increasing concentration and worker productivity.

Choosing a White Noise System

If you decide a white noise system is the right sound masking technique for your office, consider two different options:

  • Personal white noise systems help improve privacy in an individual work area. Privacy is especially important in fields where sensitive matters are discussed, such as in financial advisors’ and attorneys’ offices, and competitive work environments, like sales. A personal white noise system makes it more difficult to overhear what’s happening in these private areas while masking outside distractions for those in the room at the same time.
  • Open-office white noise systems mask sound in an entire office. The acoustics of a typical office layout—including cubicle partitions, movable walls and dropped ceilings—contribute to the noise problem, but this layout also makes a white noise system easy to install and very effective. An open-office system offers a uniform, comfortable level of white noise throughout the entire space.

State Systems can help when it comes to countering noise problems. We can design and implement a solution for any kind of office environment, no matter what unique problems you face. To learn more about installing a white noise system in your office located in Tennessee, Arkansas or Mississippi, please contact us today.

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