Researchers have long known that noise is a factor in stress leading to burnout in health care sector. For critical care nurses, noise has been linked to emotional exhaustion. No, it’s not just the complainers who are impacted. The science shows that noise causes everyone in the group, not just those with heightened sensitivity, to experience heightened levels of burnout stress. Yet noise is a factor that you can, with proper attention, control.
For Employee Health, Well-Being and Productivity … Keep It Down
According to the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control, too much noise can lead to a wide range of mental symptoms. Different people respond to workplace clatter in different ways. Top responses? Anxiety. Emotional stress. Annoyance or even anger.
Why anger? Employees subjected to heavy workplace noise levels gradually lose their powers of concentration. That causes a feeling of frustration and mental irritation. The EPA notes that noise can lead to anti-social conduct that’s out of character for a person. Lowering the level of irritating background noise, it turns out, is a key factor in preventing workplace strife and even violence.
Noise at high enough levels — in the energy sector, at military sites, in commercial kitchens, in schools, at malls, in warehouses, at construction and renovation sites, and in hotels — can lead to hearing loss.
And the internal stress is measurable. Research that kept track of children living around airport noise showed higher levels of resting blood pressure.
If You Could Keep the Office Noise Down Too … That Would Be Great
Noise is a persistent nuisance in office settings. It might go unnoticed by managers and employees, but it’s been noted in the research.
Office workers who sat through a three-hour period of low-intensity noise simulating open office space environments had higher urinary epinephrine levels than a control group. Both groups received puzzles to solve. The group in the low-level noise proved less motivated to keep trying to solve problems than the office workers in the quiet space.
The people dealing with constant, low-level office noise also proved more likely to sit still in their work stations and avoid making ergonomic tweaks to their sitting posture or shift their computers. Their counterparts in the quiet environment made more postural adjustments as they worked. This is significant, as too much sitting without movement brings on risks of musculoskeletal disorders. And it could be a special concern for people in cubicles or using fixed-height chairs and desks.
Interestingly, while people in the noisy group reported an awareness of the background noise, they did not perceive any more stress than the quiet group. People dealing with daily office noise usually don’t think it’s any big deal. Yet health and motivational consequences of exposure to normal office noise can have a real impact on employees. And that impact can be both mental and physical.
Your Lawn Looks Great … But Your Noise Annoys
When people choose where to stay, whether in hotels, homes, condos or apartments, there’s a subtle but critical factor in how they respond to the environment. People in places where noise is in the air feel significantly less comfortable than people in quieter areas. And they might have no idea why.
Studies have looked at people who have moved from one place to another to follow their jobs. Compared to workers whose new offices were quieter, those who moved to spaces with more clattering, chattering, beeping and whirring experienced higher irritation levels. The employees who ended up in quieter places reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction.
The takeaway? People are simply happier settling into quiet spaces than being surrounded by sound.
At this point you might ask: Why don’t double-pane replacement windows do enough to block out noise? They are designed to insulate against heat and cold. That great as far as it goes, but it does not address noise pollution. For soundproofing, windows need mass, plus an air gap, and a seal. But double-pane windows are low mass, with just a small gap between panes. They’re simply not engineered to seal out noise.
Shhhh! (Why Librarians Were Right All Along)
Low-intensity noise may take a toll on learning and performance when a learner has a lot of information to process at once. College students who studied in an atmosphere of low-intensity noise reported negative moods on a standardized survey. They also reported more stress than students who were permitted to focus on their learning in a quiet room.
Perhaps even more troubling is the finding that too much noise has a negative impact on heart health and blood pressure results.
More frequent sick days, insomnia and decreased productivity at work or in learning are all results of indoor sound pollution that the EPA has pointed out.
Noise impacts the bottom line. This is true in any learning space, in any residential community, and anywhere business is done. Chronic sounds have proven highly capable of sabotaging work performance. Noise puts a dent in motivation and morale. The mental fatigue accumulates, and the results include impaired decision-making ability as well as a general sense of distraction. Effects on both short and long-term memory can be significant.
Get a Soundproof Office — With Window Inserts
It’s possible to shield your employees and yourself from high or low-level noise pollution. Opt for noise-absorbing materials in and around the workspace. One helpful solution: soundproof window inserts.
For offices in the Houston, San Antonio, Galveston, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth and surroundings, Sun and Sound Windows helps build better work environments. Soundproofing any room in an industrial, commercial or residential space is all in a day’s work for us.
Our glass soundproof office window inserts block out high-pitched noises. The effectively cut noise from sirens, traffic, indoor or outdoor construction work, dogs and sound pollution from landscaping work. They also block most of your environment’s low-pitched sounds. These might be noises from trains and trucks, air-conditioning compressors, and other large machinery.
Standard replacement windows can’t do this. Their goal is energy efficiency. But you need not sacrifice anything to reduce noise in your office. Soundproof window inserts work with your replacement windows to take on noise problems, with the added bonus of greater insulation and energy savings.
Contact Sun and Sound Windows to Create a Soundproof Office
You can reach us online or in…
- Houston at (281) 223-1010
- San Antonio at (210) 504-4684
- Dallas and Fort Worth at (214) 771-9544
- Austin at (512) 758-6818
Keep yourself, your clients and your personnel happy, productive and healthy with an efficient, soundproof office. We look forward to partnering with you.