Home Business Noise in the office, a barrier to return for some employees

Noise in the office, a barrier to return for some employees


“Meetings, calls, untimely discussions, invitations to have a coffee… In an open space, you have to deal with noise. » Sophie, a marketing assistant in an international company, welcomed the news of the lifting of the obligation to work from home three days a week with a hint of disappointment. “It will be like a slap to go back”, she admits.

The impact of noise on productivity

And for good reason: over the confinements and periods of telework, corporate offices may have lost their appeal. Already, before the pandemic, Ifop studies on noise and hearing health at work showed that more than one in two French people were bothered by noise.

An embarrassment all the more visible after the successive confinements, when those who could have discovered a new comfort in teleworking. “It’s really great to be quiet (…)one hour of work at home is the equivalent of three hours in a company”assures Sophie.

An observation that Léa, an employee of the town hall, also shares. “It’s much easier to move forward at my own pace from a distance without being disturbed by surrounding noises, loudspeaker calls, colleagues who talk too loudly, everyone’s comings and goings: I’ve never been as productive as at home. »

Especially since these concentration efforts also have an impact on health. “We have to work while blocking out the noise, all of this has an impact on our productivity but also on our fatigue at the end of the day”, says Sophie. What dissuade more than one to return to the office. In 2021, 59% of workers working from home two to three days a week will suffer from noise at work, according to an Ifop study.

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Noise at home too

However, not all teleworkers live in the same conditions, and a home can sometimes be much noisier than an open space in a company. “We always have an eye on our environment, which can distract us,” explains Julien, an advertising designer with two young children who take pleasure in running through the house. Many are therefore those who flee their homes to return to the site, even if it means wasting time in transport.

→ DEBATE. Are the French reluctant to telecommute?

Proximity to certain roads or shopping streets can make teleworking hell. The first confinement had resulted in an exceptionally low level of noise in urban spaces, as measured by Bruitparif in Île-de-France. Since then, noise pollution has started to rise again.

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“I have to leave my home to go to a café to escape the noise outside (…). Beyond the concentration problems, I regularly end the day with horrible headaches”, says Romane, a work-study student in cybersecurity who lives in a student residence close to an exit from the Paris ring road.

Noise pollution such that she prefers to travel several hundred kilometers to return to her parents in Isère rather than staying in her apartment when it is not possible for her to go to her place of work. “At least in the office it is possible to ask others to make less noise. »

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