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Organisations Continue to Ignore Noise as a Productivity Drain

European study finds that bad office acoustics and noisy colleagues

significantly decrease productivity 

Monday, March 16, 2015 11:59 pm PDT


"Acoustics play a huge role in the contentment and productivity of a workforce"

CeBIT - Hanover, Germany – 16th March 2015 – Research[1] commissioned by Plantronics (NYSE: PLT) in the UK, France and Germany, revealed that office noise has an adverse effect on office workers and the quality of their work (UK 89.9%; Germany 96.5%; France 93.5%). The findings highlight the growing difficulty for office environments to keep noise distractions at bay and for employees to focus on work.


Today’s office environments are showing serious noise challenges for individuals and their colleagues, undermining productivity gains. Office workers in all three countries listed decreased productivity as a common effect of noise and believe they would be a lot more productive in a less noisy environment (UK 54.1%; Germany 65.1%; France 65.5%). An oversight of noise at work issues could potentially cost a UK organization nearly £15,000 per year[2] in lost productivity per senior manager employed[EY1] . Disruptive noise in an open office environment can manifest itself into stress and physical ailments, such as headaches and migraines, and both were listed amongst chief complaints across all countries. Three quarters of workers in all regions reported that their company has taken no action to address their noise issues or the actions have failed.




The dynamics of the office workplace are constantly evolving; an average of only half of total respondents (UK 47.7%; Germany 51.4%; France 51.3%) reported they still worked in the office five days during an average work week. As flexible working grows in popularity, office design has also radically changed with open plan office environments becoming the norm and less people working from a traditional fixed desk. This new way of work can create serious acoustic difficulties without the correct soundscaping measures. As a result, office workers in Germany, UK and France all listed noisy colleagues as the biggest noise complaint in their office environment.


“Acoustics play a huge role in the contentment and productivity of a workforce,” says Philip Vanhoutte, Senior Vice President and Managing Director Europe and Africa, Plantronics. “In today’s environment, it is extremely important for companies to understand how sound affects its bottom line and to take appropriate action to soundscape their workplace. We are passionate about ensuring workers have the right solutions necessary for a high-quality communication experience. No matter if work is being done in an traditional open plan office, an airport, coffee shop or at home.”





Work calls should be heard clearly from everywhere on every device. Unfortunately, survey results showed the truth of the matter with telephone calls unanimously coming in as the toughest task to complete in a noisy environment (UK 63%; Germany 51%; and France 59.8%). With the introduction of four new UC products from Plantronics, office workers can feel confident in the ability to focus, connect and collaborate in open office environments and on-the-go work scenarios.


These new offerings are comprised of the Blackwire 725, the company’s first UC stereo headset with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) for those people who want to stay focused in noisy office environments; the Voyager Edge UC, the latest product in the Voyager family of Bluetooth headsets aimed at workers constantly on the road; the Calisto 610, a portable speakerphone for instant anywhere conferencing, and the Clarity 340, designed for those who face vision, hearing, or dexterity challenges.  Now, workers in the office and on the road have tools they can use to control outside noise that allow them to hear as well as be heard clearly.


About Plantronics

Plantronics is a global leader in audio communications for business and consumers. We have pioneered new trends in audio technology, creating innovative products that allow people to simply communicate. From unified communications to Bluetooth® headsets to gaming solutions, we deliver uncompromising quality, an ideal experience, and extraordinary service. Originally designed for commercial aviation, today Plantronics products are used by every company in the Fortune 100™, as well as by emergency call operators, air traffic controllers, and consumers around the world.

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Plantronics is a registered trademark of Plantronics, Inc. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Plantronics is under license. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.


[1] Opinion Matters surveyed organisations employing over 250 employees in the UK, Germany and France (1000 per region) in February 2015.

[2] Based on average UK wages taken from and the actual costs to employ UK workers (


 [EY1]This sentence to be calculated and localized in each region

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