We can all agree that the workplace is, at times, filled with distracting (or even irritating) sounds. This is especially true if you work in an open plan environment. It’s the colleague who types too aggressively on her keyboard while sniffling all afternoon, or your office mates who collaborate right outside your cubicle, and let’s not forget the coworker across the aisle who conducts very loud conference calls to his project team. It’s a wonder that any of us can get any work done at all. Researchers have determined that “noise in offices changes people’s behavior – it makes them less helpful, more frustrated, absenteeism goes up and so does the rate of sickness.”
In an ideal workplace, we would each have a dedicated area in which to focus and be productive, without interruption or annoyance. Generally, people like their coworkers as individuals and as collaborators. They just don’t like the noises their coworkers make. “Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face ‘many’ instances of disturbances and distractions from noise.” While many of us find ambient noise irritating, research shows that’s not universally true.
Specific types of ambient noise have been proven to increase productivity. According to the Harvard Business Review, lack of sound privacy is by far the most common contributing factor to employee dissatisfaction. “Instead of total silence, the ideal work environment for creative work has a little bit of background noise. That’s why you might focus really well in a noisy coffee shop, but barely be able to concentrate in a noisy office… [F]ace-to-face interactions, conversations, and other disruptions negatively affect the creative process. By contrast, a coworking space or a coffee shop provide a certain level of ambient noise while also providing freedom from interruptions.” Coffee shops and coworking spaces are also populated by chronic snifflers and loud typists, but the people are anonymous. That makes it much easier to tune them out and focus on your work.
No wonder so many people prefer to soak up the café Wi-Fi when they need to concentrate. Unfortunately, not every employee has the luxury of working from the local java shack on the regular. Even if this option is available to you, it’s impolite (not to mention impractical) to hold an important conference call from an armchair in the coffee shop.
So, what are employers to do? They can’t help the sniffling and loud typing, and it’s expected for people to collaborate and hold conference calls in the workplace. It’s simply not practical to run down to the coffee shop every time you need to talk to a colleague or discuss a project. That’s where huddle rooms save the day. A huddle room offers employees an onsite alternative to the noisy open office area. In a well-equipped huddle room, employees can connect their laptops to the in-room technology with ease, and collaborate with colleagues in remote locations via audio or video conferences without disturbing others.
To be effective, huddle rooms must contain the right technology. Biamp’s Devio product platform was created specifically for huddle rooms, allowing people to take full advantage of the environment, connect quickly, and have more productive conversations. With one-cable connection, beamforming microphones for full room coverage, and excellent sound quality, Devio lets everyone make the most of the huddle room experience.