Most business leaders probably don’t, but there’s a chance that a super quiet environment can be weakening the productivity of your office. We know – this sounds crazy!
We also know that the noisier your office space is, the more you worry about your employees becoming distracted. But studies have shown that when it’s too quiet, it can have a negative effect, and we’ll explore the topic here. Keep reading to learn more.
Is Your Office Too Quiet?
Can you hear little sounds of others that you normally wouldn’t notice?
You know what we’re talking about – an office mate’s stomach rumbling or sometime chewing their oatmeal that they’re eating for breakfast. If you can hear these little noises in a crystal clear way, your office may be too quiet.
And, further than that, these noises can become irritating and even infuriating to those around your office. You can imagine hearing someone chew potato chips every day at 3:00pm can be a little annoying after a while, which is why it’s good to maintain a baseline of a reasonable amount of office background noise.
Do you feel weird talking on the phone or to a colleague?
If it’s really quiet, you and those around you may feel strange when they need to make a phone call or chat with the person next to them about something. This can be stifling to employees and may even make them feel uncomfortable in doing their work in a good way.
The lines of communication can become crossed in these scenarios, as people may struggle to use their voice to talk in such a quiet environment, feeling as though it’s necessary to email instead, which is clearly unproductive in most cases.
In these cases, the quiet can see oppressive rather than encouraging and it will become something that does the opposite of facilitate good work.
How to Fix an Office that is too Silent
Create white noise
This is easy to do with things like a fan, which can at least provide some background noise for employees to muffle those constant human sounds that are made – like yawning, sighing, chewing, or even rifling through office drawers for a post-it note or pen.
Having light music playing in your office can do its part to ensure that it’s not too quiet, plus employees will probably enjoy it. It could even be fun to have a rotating play list that different teams or employees get to choose on different days or weeks (with work appropriate picks, of course).
Open a window
Besides getting some fresh air, opening a window can allow for some natural noises to flow through to your office to break up the silence.
There you have it! Sometimes being able to hear a pin drop isn’t a good thing – especially when you want your employees to be as productive as possible.