In years past, multi-tasking was revered as the key to success in a fast-paced and ever-changing economy, but studies have shown that distraction can increase stress, reduce productivity, and lower mood. For employees to thrive, organizations must create an environment that facilitates “deep work,” which is a state of distraction-free concentration that allows people to access the full spectrum of their cognitive abilities.
The atmosphere in which employees work has a significant impact on their focus, with visual and auditory distractions significantly contributing to poor attention in the workplace. With the assistance of audiovisual integration specialists, companies can reduce extraneous stimuli and create an environment conducive to highly productive work.
Creating a Distraction-Free Work Environment
Work has changed dramatically in recent years, and employees need to work in a space that makes the necessary accommodations for these changes. Staff returning to the office from WFH (work from home) models may particularly struggle with the uptick in distractions compared to the independence of their home office, such as overhearing conversations elsewhere in the office or adjusting to a less comfortable environment.
In many cases, AV solutions can help minimize distractions, as professional audiovisual integrators understand how to implement various technologies to create a better environment for workers. Organizations should consider the following strategies to improve the office and increase productivity.
Reduce Extraneous Noise
Many workplaces are filled with hard surfaces, such as wood, tile, and metals, increasing noise levels and distracting employees. Furthermore, many people find it difficult to focus when bombarded with extraneous sounds and conversation. In this instance, audiovisual integrators may suggest the implementation of sound masking technology to reduce outside stimuli.
Sound masking technology ensures that human speech and outside noise remain imperceptible to those outside the room. Although the best solutions for your office are dependent on the infrastructure of the building, sound masking often includes curtains and sound masking loudspeakers that hang from the ceiling. Experienced audiovisual integrators can ensure that the entire environment is optimized for decreased distractions, down to the ceiling tiles and carpets.
Make Space for Private Work Areas
Although open workspaces are growing in popularity, some employees will find it challenging to work effectively in such an environment. This is especially true if coworkers are often dropping by to converse. Research shows that when a person becomes distracted by something as simple as a quick question, it can take over 20 minutes for them to become immersed in their task once more.
To reduce this issue, consider working with audiovisual integrators to create solo work pods or huddle rooms. Work pods create a secluded nook for staff to focus on a project. So if employees are having trouble focusing on an open floor plan, they will have the option to work in a private area that’s free of distractions.
When a few staff members need to touch base without interruption, huddle rooms are another useful option. Huddle rooms are small meeting areas that often seat four to six people, though some are slightly smaller. Generally, huddle rooms are complete with video conferencing and sound masking technology.
By incorporating private work areas, your company can maintain the collaborative atmosphere of an open workspace without sacrificing opportunities for focus and deep work.
Use the Right Lighting
The wrong lighting fixtures can create immense problems in the workplace and actually contribute to distractions in the office. When people are not able to work in the proper lighting conditions, it can cause headaches and significantly reduce their ability to concentrate. Dim lighting combined with staring at a bright computer screen increases eye strain, while extremely bright lighting may induce migraines. Almost 70% of employees state that the lighting in their workplace isn’t conducive to productivity and focus.
If employees have expressed concern about inadequate lighting in the office, audiovisual integrators can mitigate this issue by installing LED lights. Recently, LED lighting has become more common for its energy efficiency and its positive impact on employee health.
Furthermore, many offices choose lighting that adjusts as necessary based on the time of day. Cool lighting is ideal for increasing concentration in the morning, whereas warmer lighting allows employees to wind down as they complete tasks in the late afternoon.
Create an Engaging Environment
Modern employers recognize the importance of ensuring that workers remain engaged and excited about their work. The office space may be used for various tasks, including team building, collaboration, and training. When employees are engaged in the task at hand, their mind is less likely to wander.
Digital signage is one way companies can provide motivational messages to boost morale and productivity. In addition, employers can also celebrate employees with awards for their hard work in common spaces. Digital signage is also helpful for displaying HR information and other important messages that easily get lost in company emails.
Video walls have the ability to elevate the entire office space. When employees enter the office to begin their workday, an inspiring video wall can help them feel immersed in the workplace culture. However, audiovisual integrators must place these video walls strategically so as not to increase distractions in the office. Work with audiovisual integrators to assess the specific needs of your facility, and create a plan and layout that works for your organization.
Foster Effective Collaboration
Although pointless conversation can be a hindrance to the daily workflow, creating spaces for effective communication and collaboration has the potential to increase focus and reduce distractions in the office. As many employers shift to a hybrid work model and clients choose to connect with companies using digital means, video conferencing technology has become more critical than ever before. If workers are experiencing technical difficulties, such as poor audio or visuals, people cannot communicate effectively with one another. When these issues occur frequently, it will negatively impact the participants’ ability to pay attention.
In order to increase focus and improve collaboration, audiovisual integrators may suggest digital whiteboards and video conferencing technologies to ensure that all participants can clearly view information. Furthermore, high-quality audio, complete with sound masking technology, ensures that employees can direct their full attention towards the most important takeaways without difficulty hearing.
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