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White Noise Can Save Valuable Assets

Last Updated: June 2, 2016

In an attempt to boost productivity and facilitate open discussions and group collaboration, companies large and small have been adopting open-office floor plans. In fact, 70 percent of U.S. offices report having low or no partitions between employees. These collaborative spaces, however, have been proven to leave room for distraction and employee frustration. A study from the University of California Berkley found that noise and lack of speech privacy are the biggest complaints of office workers today. So, how can companies support collaboration and still provide privacy and a quiet setting for independent work?

One proven solution comes in the form of noise cancelling devices, which offer a constant stream of white noise to muffle distracting sounds and allow employees to concentrate. In fact, studies have shown that white or pink noise systems are a necessity to protect productivity. A study by the Data Management Association found that open-plan workplaces without sound-masking systems witness a 40 percent loss in productivity and a 27 percent increase in errors.

“This study demonstrates the impact that sound distractions can have on a businesses’ bottom line,” said Bob McBride, president of State Systems, a local company that supplies and installs white noise systems in Mid-South businesses. “What may have once been seen as a luxury item has now become a necessity for efficiency and productivity in the workplace.”

These systems are often used by call centers where hundreds of employees sit side-by-side answering calls and conversing with customers. Not only can the white noise muffle the other conversations and improve the employee’s concentration, it can also improve the caller’s experience.

“It’s not an unusual experience to be on the phone with a customer service representative and hear representatives speaking to other customers in the background – those centers most likely do not use white noise systems,” McBride said, “Isn’t it a much better experience when you feel like you the only one being attended to at the moment – that your representative is there for just you?”

Additionally, white noise systems provide security assurance. In an open-office environment, not many conversations can be considered private. Each time an employee discusses business operations, speaks on the phone with a client or divulges confidential information to a superior, there is the possibility that someone who should not be privy to the information is listening. White noise systems prevent data breaches by preventing unwelcomed ears from hearing the information.

Collaborative office design isn’t going anywhere – in fact, some designers are moving away from individual desk spaces altogether. Fast Company reported “community tables” as one of the eight top office design trends of 2016, pointing to a “cultural movement” happening in restaurants, coffee shops and other public settings where shared tables are appearing.

White noise systems are also valuable in clinical settings and can be found in use in doctors’ offices across the Mid-South, providing essential privacy for patients as they discuss personal health concerns with their physicians within the confines of their exam room.

“Most people don’t even know that these systems are at work in various places that they work or do business in,” McBride said. “But, employers and owners know the value they provide in increasing productivity and improving experiences for customers and employees.”

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