It may not come as a surprise, but sound can affect your ability to focus and be productive. Background or low-level noise causes distractions and disrupts concentration. Ambient sounds often negatively impact your overall health by increasing stress levels and aggravating existing health issues such as coronary disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and peptic ulcers. Noise-induced stressors can also cause a decrease in the brain’s production of dopamine. The result of which is a limitation of the brain’s ability to control information flow throughout the body. Sound can also affect your productivity.
A Drop In Productivity
Astudy published in 1998 found a 66% drop in productivity if you can hear someone talking while you are reading or writing! Environmental noise such as city sounds, music, and people’s conversations leads to a drop in performance. Intermittent speech is considered the biggest distraction. However, many of these distracting sounds are easy to tune out allowing your productivity to increase.
Maybe It Is Not The Sound But Rather Who Is Making It
A few recent studies indicate that low productivity may result not from noise, but from interruption. The suggestion being to find a place, regardless of noise level but free from disruption. Onestudy suggests that the proper amount of ambient noise can trigger our brains to think more creatively. The researchers suggest that a little bit of background noise is better than total silence. So a trip to a local coffee shop to work may be more effective than a library.
Making Your Workplace Quieter
There are ways you can make your place of work more accommodating for creativity. Start by reducing the interruptions and take a few more steps to quiet things down. Try these approaches to quiet things down:
Sound masking. Research indicates that productivity can increase as much as 38% when a sound masking system is in use.
Quiet Zones. You may want to contemplate setting aside a separate space for employees to work in silence. Set it up so employees can reserve the area when a project needs their full attention.
Work from home. Our homes can be noisy too, but many people report that their productivity increases while working remotely.
Noise-Reduction At School
Schools are notoriously loud! Moreover, the racket is not only coming from the shouts and laughter of children. There are steps schools can take to quiet the ambient noise if not the students. Here are a few:
Service noisy HVAC systems
Put rubber tips on table and chair legs
Place noisy office equipment away from classrooms
Schedule fewer students in the gym, cafeteria, and playground at one time
Soundproof gym, shops, and music rooms
Time To Cut The Distractions
Distractions hinder creative thinking. Whether at work or school, sound can impact the brain and lower productivity. If the disturbance is noise or interruption as research indicates, the result is a limitation in the brain’s ability to control information. Take steps today to increase your productivity. There are many ways to quiet your work or school environment as well as limit interruptions so try a few out today, and hopefully, your creativity level soars.