Office design, including the textures, colours, smells and sounds of the office, affects our productivity. Sound, in particular, is a crucial issue with open-plan designs as it becomes difficult to tune out the noise of colleagues. Linda Trim, director at workplace specialists Giant Leap, says: "Loud noise has definitely become one of the greatest irritants at work. "Everyone has had the unhappy experience of trying to get something important done when colleagues are making a lot of noise." She has the following advice on how to increase productivity: • When designing an office, pay as much attention to the acoustics as the aesthetics; • White noise can help, but it needs to be introduced judiciously. "Introducing white noise in all areas will mask all conversations, so it needs to be applied strategically," warns Trim; • Soundproof booths allow people to make phone calls without disturbing their neighbours; and • Wall coverings and even furniture can be used to absorb noise. "Carpe...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now