The Cost of Distracted, Disengaged Workers

Office noise is one of the most commonly complained about office issues.  It’s easy to assume that workers kind of enjoy being distracted, as if it moved the day faster or made it more fun.  My husband used to waste hours as an electrical engineer on office pranks and even taste tests.  And while he did in fact enjoy his time spent away from work, I did not appreciate his time spent away from home.  That’s because he would have to go in some evenings or weekends to make up for projects not finished by deadlines.  I’ll admit my husband brought a lot of his own woes upon himself, but his poor office mates and co-workers were pulled into it regardless.  Distracted workers are disengaged workers.  And disengaged workers are costly because they are far less productive, make more mistakes while solving fewer problems, and have higher absenteeism and turn-over rates.  This all adds up to approximately $600 billion per year for US businesses.

Dealing with Distraction

There are two main ways to counter-act office noise/distraction- hint- one of them is not banning the internet.  Actually, the most distracting and unnecessary part of a worker’s day is conversational distraction.  So, the idea is to use sound masking to cover it.  The two ways to do that are to cover noise individually or corporately.

  1. Sound Machine.  Sound machines use white noise for individual users that can be adjusted as necessary.  They are affordable, but only work for 1 user at a time.
  2. Sound Masking System.  Like the name implies, this is a system that is intended for larger spaces.  It is zoned so that it’s not just a louder application.

If $600 billion a year bothers you, then consider what bothers your workers {noise!} and implement some form of sound masking to reclaim your part of it.

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