Employees are demanding more from their offices and in the effort to promote wellness in the workplace, employers are considering what exactly does make their staff happy.
There are obviously a variety of elements that need to be thought about; for instance, a large factor depends on the industry employees are working in, and whether it is safe to wear headphones at work.
For some, it’s a worthy investment: Research confirms that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. However, it’s not a simple formula (1 x employee wearing headphones = happy worker) so when questioning whether headphones should be allowed at work, it’s important to consider the positives and negatives of wearing headphones in the workspace:
Many offices are implementing modular acoustic rooms, not just for meetings, but also as a refuge from noisy open plan working environments. If these are in use, and without an agile working interior design, employees may be limited to where they can seek a quiet space. This presents an argument for headphones to block out surrounding sounds.
One way to manage any knock-on effect of acoustic complexities is to consider digital sound masking, a process of adding a low level of unobtrusive background sound engineered to reduce distractions by muffling speech and unwanted sounds.
Essentially the final decision will be decided by senior management, whether they are willing to consider that music can improve workers’ productivity but also demonstrate trust in productivity outputs remaining the same.
Perhaps compromises can be made, and an office etiquette can be in place where if you are in a public facing role, then headphones are not to be worn when in view of the public.
Or if you are wearing earbuds, then the connotation is that when wearing one earbud you are open to communication but if both are in then you require space for full concentration.
Essentially it all comes down to choice.
People like to make decisions based on what will work best for them, so whether employers do or do not allow headphones to be worn, it’s important to consider how this comes across to employees in terms of freedom of choice.
Effective productivity of people wearing headphones can be measured on an individual or collective basis, but whilst that takes time there is a quicker solution to any acoustic concerns.
To explore further office insights, check out the 5 ways smart office can improve wellbeing and 9 facts the workplace can learn from bees. For a quick discussion on how acoustic design will benefit your workspace, get in touch with Creatif on 0113 270 1239.