HomeDesignHow Design Can Help Eliminate Common Workplace Distractions
A row of individual workstations in an open office setting.

How Design Can Help Eliminate Common Workplace Distractions

There are times when even the most dedicated employee can have a hard time focusing on their work. In the 2018 Workplace Distraction report by Udemy, about 3 out of 4 workers feel like they’re distracted at work with 16% of them saying they’re almost always distracted. And all of that time spent being distracted can take a big toll on company productivity and employee morale. In Udemy’s report, 50% of people said distractions make them significantly less productive, 20% said that distractions make them unable to reach their full potential, and 34% said distractions make them like their job less.

People can be distracted at work for a very wide range of reasons, including checking their cell phones and thinking about other things they’re dealing with in their personal life. While companies can’t control all possible distractions people might be dealing with, looking for ways to reduce distractions through office design can be a very worthwhile idea.  

An acoustic panel suspended from the ceiling above groups of tables in an office.Acoustic Controls

Conversations between coworkers. A team of people brainstorming ideas for a project. Someone helping a colleague with a task. All of these are very common things you might hear around an office. But another thing they can have in common is that they may be highly distracting to others in the workplace who are trying to focus on something else. 

It’s impossible to eliminate all noise in the workplace, but including acoustic control solutions around the office can help make it easier to keep noise under control. Acoustic control options run the gamut from panels mounted to walls and ceilings to ceiling tiles, spray-on cellulose insulation, and flooring materials, just to name a few. When you work with a design-build firm, they’ll be able to help you find the perfect acoustic controls for your space. 

Another option to consider is installing a sound masking system. Unlike things like acoustic ceiling and wall tiles, which work by absorbing sound, sound masking systems work by emitting a noise that helps distract people having conversations nearby. It might seem counterintuitive to try and prevent noise distractions by adding more noise to a space, but the noise emitted by sound masking systems has a frequency similar to that of human speech, which makes nearby conversations less of a distraction. 

Sofas with high backs in an office lounge.Privacy Options

By far, one of the most common complaints people have had about open office environments is that a lack of privacy can make it difficult to concentrate. Without walls, it’s very easy for people to get sidetracked by visual distractions as well as noise around the office. As frustrating as those distractions can be, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people want to feel completely shut off from the rest of the office, either. 

Every now and then, we all have times when we need a quiet environment to work in without being interrupted. Or people may need a private space where they can make phone calls and have conversations without being overheard or disrupting their colleagues. These types of spaces can range from privacy pods and private offices to lounge areas with partitions that make it clear that people working in those areas would prefer not to be interrupted. Furniture with tall backs can also be a great way to add a little bit of privacy.

A private collaborative space in an office.Power Access & Connectivity

People have more flexibility than ever before to move around while they work. People often need to switch between their main workstation and places like conference rooms. And with a growing number of companies adopting unassigned workstations, a person’s main workstation can change on a daily basis. But with that flexibility to move around, it’s become extremely important to make sure everyone can easily power up and get connected anywhere in the office. 

When people are ready to focus on work or a meeting, the last thing they want is to have to spend time looking for power outlets or adapters to connect to displays. In the 2018 workplace distraction report by Udemy, 33% of respondents said that technology and connectivity problems were one of the most common reasons why their meetings get disrupted. To solve this, make sure power outlets are readily available throughout the office, particularly in collaborative areas. If it’s too hard for people to plug in when they need to, those areas of the office may go underutilized as people gravitate to other spaces.

Seating in an office lounge near individual workstations.Lighting

Lighting plays a very significant role in both productivity and wellness in the workplace. When lighting conditions aren’t very good, it’s easy for a person to focus more on the lighting than on their work. Insufficient lighting and glare caused by bright lighting can both easily make it hard for people to see what they’re working on and make them spend time doing things like looking for other areas to work in or finding other ways to solve their lighting problem. 

Lighting conditions change throughout the day, so it’s important to give people convenient ways to adapt. Installing window shades is a great idea since they can easily be adjusted to block the sun at times when it might be causing glare on computer screens and opened back up to let more light in when needed. Providing lamps throughout the office and task lighting at desks also helps make it easy for people to control the lighting in the environment they’re working in. 

When you’re ready to update your workplace, Premier Construction & Design is ready to help. We’ve worked with companies in many different types of industries in the Metro Detroit area to help them create spaces that perfectly meet their needs. Check out our portfolio and case studies to see examples of projects we’ve worked on and contact us when you’re ready to get started!