New research: Is workplace noise making men less tolerant?

Today, UK acoustics specialist Oscar Acoustics released findings from its research into the effects of noise on men and women in the workplace and found some striking differences between the sexes.

Men react dramatically

According to our research men are 20% more likely to react to noise in the workplace than women, sometimes dramatically. Some may be surprised to learn that men are twice as likely to ask for a quieter desk, but when scanning down the results, things get a lot more interesting. Men are also four times more likely to leave passive aggressive notes and startlingly six times more likely to resort to violence!

These extreme reactions to excessive noise probably explain why 21% of men have poor relationships with their colleagues.

Women on the other hand seem much calmer as half don’t react at all to loud noises. In fact men are just as likely to snap at co-workers as women are to simply wear headphones to counteract noise.

Employers are failing to listen equally

It appears that attitudes of bosses differs between the sexes. Why are a quarter of men reporting that their employer takes the issue very seriously, whilst less than a tenth of women say this is true? On top of this, only a third of women say their employer has taken action to protect them from noise (by installing insulation, cubicles or even firing offenders), compared to over a half of men.

Ben Hancock, managing director of Oscar Acoustics, comments “Seeing how noise affects men and women differently is certainly eye-opening. What’s even more worrying, is the lack of parity between men and women when it comes to concerns being addressed. Is this part of a wider trend where bosses are not listening enough to the workplace concerns of women? Employers need to be aware of how a loud space can affect each individual on the payroll, and make sure everyone’s perceptions and experiences are taken into account.

“Failure to do so will have commercial repercussions. A half of men and women polled say that excessive workplace noise is ruining their productivity. Treating everyone equally will ultimately boost your bottom line.”

Key Findings:

  • Men can be significantly more violent; they’re six times as likely as women to get physical with a colleague over noise. They’re also:
    • Three times as likely to snap at their boss
    • Four times as likely to leave passive aggressive notes
    • Five times as likely to quit their job
  • 21% of men have poor relations with colleagues because of noise
  • Two-thirds of women say their employer has done nothing to protect them from noise. However over a half of men have been shielded against workplace din by their boss.