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New Jabra Audio Research Results

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Published: 16 July 2024

Jabra’s latest research reveals how audio volume affects performance and office vibe as:

  • 71% of UK workers say working in loud environments makes them mentally tired 

  • 59% state loud environments make it difficult for them to feel passionate about their work

  • 71% think neurodiversity in the workplace can drive better business results

Langley, UK, 16th July 2024 – 9 in 10 (92%) UK workers say getting work done, being able to focus on work, and maintaining good mental health are equally important.

 

But according to Jabra’s latest research, the role that audio plays on cognitive, emotional and physical wellbeing in the workplace cannot be undersold. Nearly three quarters (71%) of UK respondents say working in a loud environment makes them mentally tired, and that clear and high-quality sound enhances their ability to focus on tasks.

The research was carried out amongst 2,000 knowledge workers across France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. The findings revealed that improving neurodiversity in the workplace and creating an inclusive space can positively influence mental wellbeing and productivity, ultimately encouraging better mood and providing organisations with a competitive advantage.

 

Office buzz or a productivity buzzkill?

 

While organisations are continuing to push for employees to return to offices, half (50%) of UK respondents say they are stressed by noise at the office not allowing them to focus.

Jabra’s research found that 47% say it was difficult for them to be productive at work when colleagues were taking calls at their desks without headphones. Meanwhile, 49% reported it was equally difficult to lead or participate in calls when colleagues are taking calls from their desks without headphones. To avoid noise and limit distractions, over half of UK workers (53%) say they are expected to take calls or online meetings away from their desks in a separate room and use professional headphones (66%).

The findings show the impact noise has on overall productivity and performance. With 72% saying clear and high-quality sound enhances their ability to focus on tasks and projects, it is critical that leaders do all they can to provide the right technology and a conducive environment for employees returning to the office, to avoid the productivity buzzkill.

Loud environment and its impact on mental wellbeing 

Poor audio quality has negative consequences on work and wellbeing, with 58% of UK workers saying poor quality audio during conference calls negatively impacts their wellbeing.

The impact loud environments have on mental health and wellbeing is clear: nearly three quarters (71%) say working in a loud environment makes them mentally tired. Furthermore, six in ten respondents agree that working in a loud environment makes them physically tired (60%) and it is difficult for them to feel passionate about their work when working in such an environment (59%).

Workers also believe higher-quality meeting audio can positively impact their interpersonal skills in the workplace through clearer communication (46%), improved collaboration (44%), and enhanced communication skills (39%).

While noise has a negative impact on overall mental health and wellbeing, workers believe employers have a responsibility to address audio issues in a variety of ways. This ranges from providing noise-cancelling headphones as part of standard office equipment (36%) and allowing employees to work from home more frequently (39%). Over a third (34%) say their employer could also designate specific areas for different types of activities such as quiet zones or collaborative zones to ensure employees have the options available in the offices for optimal performance and mental wellbeing.

 

Inclusive and neurodiversity in the workplace fuels business results

Neurodiversity refers to the diverse number of ways a human brain processes information. It highlights there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how people approach a similar situation. The research findings show that this concept applies to the workplace too.

 

Despite being a relatively new concept to UK workers, with 21% saying it was the first time they were hearing about the term “neurodiversity”, around 7 in 10 believed that neurodiversity in the workplace can improve business through increased creativity (72%) and collaboration (74%) – ultimately driving better business results (71%).

It is clear from the research findings that audio levels have a varied effect on workers and can have a profound effect on overall health and quality of life. Improving neurodiversity in the workplace can be a way to boost work performance (61%), and employees are more empowered to “bring their whole self to work” in an inclusive workplace (60%). With a positive impact on both business and employees, nearly two thirds (64%) of UK workers agree that employers should invest more in creating an inclusive, neurodiverse workplace. Gone are the days where workplaces solely catered to a single type of employee, and an evolution is needed to ensure employers are catering to different individual needs within the workforce.

 

Nigel Dunn, VP EMEA North at Jabra, said: “The way of work is constantly evolving, and with the return to the office, UK workers are struggling with the ability to focus in the workplace. Sound type, intensity and individual sensitivity play significant roles in how we function at work and have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing, and productivity and performance. GN’s recent “Listen to This” campaign highlights the strong link between audio and our overall cognitive and mental wellbeing. UK leaders need to invest in creating an inclusive and neurodiverse workplace, combined with high-quality technology to ensure workers can bring their true and best selves to work and thrive professionally and mentally.”

 

Please see here for the full report.

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