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There can’t be many office workers out there who have yet to experience symptoms of silent office syndrome. You know the ones. When whale noises project from your stomach across the room, leaving you red-faced. Taking three solid hours to crunch your way through a packet of Hula Hoops.

Of course, everybody needs a certain level of peace and quiet in order to concentrate. But, there comes a point when silence is no longer golden. It is in fact, entirely possible for a lack of noise to become far more distracting than audible sound.

Staff feeling that silence compromises their privacy

Realistically, nobody is going to want to pipe up about a personal or professional problem when every person in the room is within earshot.

A significant dip in productivity levels

A silent office environment can be creatively stifling and incredibly unstimulating. As a result, staff start slumping in their seats, watching the clock and losing interest in the tasks at hand.

 

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Poor communication between teams and individual staff

In a super quiet space, staff are more likely to communicate only when necessary. Even then, it might only be via email in order to avoid having to speak out loud.

This could be for confidence or confidentiality, but either way, silence can make staff feel very exposed.

A severe lack of participation and idea-sharing.

The extroverts in your workforce probably won’t mind, but pin-drop silence can intimidate quieter employees. Some people don’t like to feel like the spotlight is on them.

Solving sound problems in the office

Employers usually want staff to interact, and engage with their jobs. It’s more stimulating, and encourages more creativity. So, what helps a working environment where people are afraid to share their ideas out loud?

Sticking the radio on

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer but putting on some background music can lighten the atmosphere. Just make sure everybody is happy with the vibe and volume although often, this can feel like mission impossible.

Creating designated places where people can ‘make noise’

If the nature of your business calls for complete quiet during working hours, provide breakout spaces where staff can go to relax, unwind and make as much noise as they want (within reason, of course).

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Letting the great outdoors in

Sometimes, the only bit of background noise you need is the birds tweeting in the trees, cars going past the window or just the humdrum of living. Crack a window and let the noises of nature in.

Consider sound conditioning technology

Specialist technology has been developed to omit a constant stream of sound which intuitively reacts to the noise levels in the room. This is often a white noise effect and can even be undetectable to the human ear but the ideal level of distraction from silence.

Not demonising socialising

It goes without saying that socialising shouldn’t take priority over productivity but the better a workforce interacts on a social level, the stronger their communication back at the desk will be.

Dedicating time to brainstorming sessions

In order to avoid staff feeling stifled or unable to share their ideas, schedule specific times and spaces entirely dedicated to doing just that.

Now we’ve shared our thoughts on the topic, it’s time for you to have your say! Leave your comments in the box below or come and join the conversation over on Twitter or Facebook.

About The Author

Stephanie Whalley

Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.

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