Offices too noisy to return, say bankers

Noise problems are preventing bankers from returning to the office, despite bosses’ attempts to get them back. One in three told researchers they are avoiding the workplace and eight out of 10 financial services employees reported a decline in performance due to high noise levels.

One in five finance workers admitted clashing with colleagues due to strained relationships and one in six financial traders said they had been driven to make a formal complaint due to excessive noise.

The results were part of a nationwide study into the finance industry by a firm specisliing in architectural acoustic finishes.

Which surveyed 1,500 employees, focusing on the impact of workplace noise. It discovered that 8eight in ten had experienced a significant drop in productivity due to elevated noise levels in their work environments.

Constant distractions in offices are becoming a deterrent for bankers, with more than a quarter pinpointing excessive noise as one of their biggest frustrations, according to Oscar Acoustics.

When asked specifically about the levels of noise in the office, three in ten investment bankers admit to a disconnect with their working environment, choosing to work from home in place of the office, while two in gen had felt compelled to relocate to a different desk away from their colleagues.

Office design has advanced substantially to better meet employee needs, but our research demonstrates that acoustic performance is still lacking

Excessive noise has also been shown to have a negative influence on workers’ health. The survey found that 11% of UK finance workers believe that their working conditions have caused damage to their hearing. Over one-fifth have difficulty sleeping, and more than a quarter (26%) report needing to work outside of their contracted hours to compensate for a decline in productivity.

And this doesn’t look like ending anytime soon. When asked if their employers are working to reduce uncomfortable noise levels, only 22 per cent believed the issue is being taken seriously. Alarmingly, many revealed that the required measures to encourage a quieter office atmosphere are yet to be implemented.

Ben Hancock, Managing Director at Oscar Acoustics, said: “Office design has advanced substantially to better meet employee needs, but our research demonstrates that acoustic performance is still lacking, having a damaging impact on staff wellbeing and productivity. Financial Services BDMs need to do more to guarantee that their office environment allows their employees to function efficiently.”

“The issue of noise has gone under the radar for far too long and with hybrid working arrangements here to stay, the situation is now impossible to ignore. Noise may seem like a small irritant, but it’s now something that businesses in the sector must address if they are to attract workers back into the office and retain staff.”

Full survey results are  here.