I frequently hear people say they are “working from home tomorrow to actually get work done.” We know from our own research that the most distracting thing in the open office are the coworkers. And that just makes sense, since we are wired to pay attention to the human voice, whether that voice is shouting a warning or chitchatting about yesterday’s ball game or tomorrow’s blockbuster show on cable.
This isn’t new, of course. A 2018 study from Oxford Economics, found that only 1 percent of employees — down from 20 percent in 2015 — say they are able to block out distractions and concentrate without taking extra steps in the office. A 2019 study we did in conjunction with the HR consultancy Future Workplace showed that nearly three in four people would work in the office more – and be more productive – if employers would do more to reduce workplace distractions.
Poly understood this workplace trend from the beginning – we were open office before the trend ourselves – and we now have the widest range of Active Noise Canceling (ANC) headsets for open offices. While other companies may offer this technology, our approach is different.
Most people think of ANC as the type found in headphones used on airplanes where the goal is to block out everything. But Poly’s ANC is specifically tuned to noise frequencies you experience in an office, and purposely is not as intense as that headphone for a plane. Why?
- High levels of ANC over long periods can actually make you feel tired, contributing to the kind of fatigue you feel at the end of a long draining day.
- It’s uncomfortable, as some describe, like “pulling on ears.” Based on a blind test of headsets used among office workers in an open office, study participants were 2xs more likely to find Poly’s active noise cancelling effective and comfortable.
- In the office, you don’t want to tune out everything, like you might on a plane—for example, you need to hear your own voice. If you’ve ever been really stuffed up and realized that since you can’t really hear, you’re talking louder – well the same thing applies if the ANC you’re using is too intense. And you talking louder – well, that just adds to the open office noise problem.
In addition to ANC, our headsets account for the fact that many people listen to music at work to help focus. Poly’s Voyager UC Series of stereo headsets, along with the Savi 8220, have amazing ANC but are equally good for your favorite music. They also cleverly integrate with the office UC system. When a call comes in, the headset gently reduces the music volume and plays the ringtone. When you answer, the music pauses so you can take the call and when it’s over, the music starts again and you’re back in the zone.
We stay tuned into how people are working – and tune our products to the most comfortable levels of ANC – so you can stay focused.
 Based on a study of employees of Clinc, a conversational AI company, conducted in Clinc’s open office setting on June 27-28, 2019, Participants wore non-branded versions of the Jabra Evolve 75 for up to six hours then the Poly Voyager Focus UC for up to 6 hours.