Modern offices can be terrible places to work. In the wake of Covid-19 and the new ‘normal’ of social distancing, employers are leaning further toward larger, open plan office space.
At work and home, when a hearing loss or background noise is present, our brain needs to work harder to separate the two and determine what we should be paying attention to. Straining to concentrate or tune in at work contributes to poor mental health and listening fatigue1. Why make your work day harder than it needs to be?
To ensure effective communication, connection and productivity, it is important that we make the necessary adjustments to ensure our workplace is Hearing-Healthy.
So how can you make your office hearing healthy?
Bring back the old-school, carpeted desk dividers!
While we don’t advocate for their fuzzy texture or aesthetic appeal, desk and room dividers go a long way in helping us focus and hear better at work. The fuzzier and softer this divider is, the more sound it will absorb. Great for masking the sound of a snack-wrapper, keyboard or a particularly loud co-worker.
Wear a headset
Besides being almost-essential for accessing your keyboard and coffee during long calls, an over-ear headset puts the sound of your call directly into your ears. When this happens, sounds are clearer and easier to hear as they are not broken down by the noise around you. Add in our Audeara A-01’s wirefree, bluetooth connectivity and a hearing profile tailored just for your ears and you have the perfect conference call!
Use collaborative tools
In meetings or presentations, use pictures, graphs and numbers to help make your point. Request your colleagues do the same. If you discuss an action, follow up with an email or task assignment. Any big meetings or important conversations should always have minutes recorded and actions written down.
Shot-gun the best seat in the house
While all your colleagues might be vying for the best standing desk or wheeled chair, fight them off and position yourself against a wall, in a corner and away from distractions including bathrooms, the kitchen, open windows or a particularly talkative co-worker. If you can’t do this, orient yourself so your back is to the worst of the noise.
Have a no-phone-no-calls rule on the floor
While this might not work for everyone or every workplace, suggesting that long or loud phone calls be taken in a private room or outside, can go a long way toward keeping the peace (literally and figuratively) in the office.
Utilise closed captioning during video chats and team meetings
These are now available through most teams and meeting applications, just look for the ‘CC’ icon on your screen.
Practice your pause (speech)
Everyone can benefit from clear and concise speech, particularly any colleagues or family members that might have a known or undiagnosed hearing loss. Think about what you are saying and try to slow it down. If someone asks you to repeat yourself, try and rephrase what you said rather than repeating the same words.
Practice your pause (brain!)
Take a walk around the block or sit in a quiet space away from noise and distraction at least once a day. This helps your brain to reboot and will also work to limit the effect of listening fatigue in the middle of a big day.
When all else fails and no amount of rearrange will remove the background buzz, try some noise cancelling headphones
Audeara’s over-ear design and active noise cancelling will work with you to drown out your office-noise. Play your favourite tunes or a podcast and get to work!