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The open work environment: New challenges and new audio technology to address them

January 24, 2020

The open work environment: New challenges and new audio technology to address them
How employees work and the way workplaces are structured have changed significantly over the past several years. There are many reasons for the transformation, including the advent of mobile technology and changing attitudes toward work among today’s employees, most notably millennials.
Here’s a brief summary of how the face of the workplace has evolved:
  • Companies have adopted open-plan design based on the thinking that it fosters employee interaction, boosts creativity and results in more efficient use of space. A clear majority of today’s offices in the U.S.—approximately 70%—now have an open design.*
  • Due to the increase and growing sophistication of mobile devices and UCC technology, companies are adopting a more liberal approach to telecommuting, and more and more employees are choosing this option. In a recent survey of employees of all ages, 83% said they don’t believe they need to work in an office to be productive.*
  • UCC technology has given employees more options in how they meet and where they collaborate, and meeting spaces in open offices often have to accommodate a variety of different functions.
  • Due to BYOD (bring your own device) policies, the growing use of social media platforms and other factors, work lives and private lives are merging—with many employees now using their personal devices at the office.
The new face of work presents significant challenges
Despite their best intentions of delivering a more vibrant, open and efficient workplace, many companies are experiencing a backlash against the open workplace concept. Employees are finding that the increased noise level and lack of privacy make it difficult to focus and stay productive. Studies* show that:
  • Up to 30% of employees are dissatisfied with open workspace noise.
  • 63% believe loud colleagues are a primary distraction.
  • Employees spend 73% less time interacting in person—89% of the respondents claim they’re more productive when they work alone.
  • The distractions in an open space environment decrease worker productivity up to 28%.
Quality headsets have become essential tools in the open work environment
Modern professionals are using headsets in the office for a good portion of the workday to eliminate noise and improve concentration. And the headsets they’re using are increasingly sophisticated, with features such as wireless connectivity and device compatibility. Today’s employees want their audio solutions to perform in a variety of work environments and situations—whether they’re working at their desks or conferencing with colleagues in another country.
Innovative audio technology can improve work conditions in open office environments
Sennheiser, a recognized leader in headphones, headsets and other audio technology, has made a comprehensive analysis of today’s open workplace environment and has designed devices that help alleviate many of the problems employees experience in open office settings. For example, while most headphones on the market are designed to dampen ambient noise, Sennheiser’s unique NoiseGard technology goes several steps further. It recognizes the noise in a room and sends out an opposite signal to neutralize the noise.
Sennheiser has also built in maximum flexibility into its headset technology, offering users connectivity to PCs, desk phones and mobile phones, as well as enhanced security features to keep conversations confidential. And to meet the demand for more flexible meeting room facilities, the company has created a unique ceiling microphone with patented beamforming technology. This allows participants to adapt the meeting to their needs—giving them the ability to move freely and flexibly in the room without sacrificing sound quality.
To learn more about Sennheiser’s innovative technology for today’s open office spaces, visit sennheiser.com/headsets.