• Fri, Mar 8 2013

Why Noise Is Actually Good For Productivity

You have probably paid attention to what your office looks late. When someone microwaves leftover salmon, you know what it smells like. But what does your office sound like?

As it turns out, sound matters. The Harvard Business Review reported a few years ago on a study finding that noise is one of the biggest complaints of office workers, and open office plans are making the problem even worse. Other research finds noise creates problems with stress, concentration and productivity. Meanwhile, the coworker-muffling “white noise” that used to be produced by ventilation equipment and other relatively noisy systems has disappeared as those systems have become more efficient.

But not all noise is bad! The creators of the new web app Coffitivity tout research showing that it’s hard to be creative in a quiet space, and that ambient noise boosts creativity.

Super-simple Coffitivity plays ambient coffee-shop noise so work-from-homers or office types can get a jolt of “the mix of calm and commotion” that comes from a bustling coffee shop. You press “play,” and her murmuring, quiet laughter, papers rustling, and dishes clinking in the background. You’re encouraged to play your own music at the same time, though you don’t need to. Either way, the app makes my quiet home office feel like a livelier place.

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