Can tech innovation make noisy offices a thing of the past?

Research shows that some people have an extreme reaction to everyday office noises like tapping the keys on a laptop. New tech solutions are lining up to tackle a disorder known as misophonia

While we have all experienced how a noisy office can make it hard to concentrate on our work, research has suggested that for some people the everyday sounds of the office can be grating in the extreme.

The BBC reports that the newly-diagnosed disorder of misophonia may explain why your colleagues are always gritting their teeth when someone is eating, coughing, chatting or even typing loudly in the office. This condition has been recognised as a kind of extra sensitivity to everyday noises, where the sounds of an everyday office can trigger anxiety, rage or even panic.

Research also suggests that extroverts perform better in noisy environments than introverts, so problems with office noise are more likely to target specific personality types.

Beyond soundproofing

But how can this be tackled? There are lots of sound-proofing steps that companies can take, as well as having designated zones for different types of working. But these straightforward steps won’t get rid of one particular offence – the noisy clacking of your office neighbour’s keyboard. This is also a problem at home, where thanks to home working and hybrid working options you’re likely to hear your family, friends or housemates tapping away as well.

With new attention being brought to the irritating sounds of the office, a new piece of tech might hold the answer. The new OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro is designed specifically to create a satisfying sound that won’t grate on the people around you, therefore eliminating the problem of office noise breaking your concentration.

‘More attention is being paid to the sensory experience of the office…’

The keyboard also comes with a dial that can be used to instantly silence notifications from your laptop, eliminating that annoying ping of Teams message or email coming through when you’re working hard. With more attention being paid to the sensory experience of the office, more solutions like this that tackle specific problems that were underappreciated and overlooked will emerge.

Read more tech innovations and insights in Echo Callaghan’s Technology Roundup in the Innovation Zone here.

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