Most people are excited to get back into the office and gain more separation between “work” and “life.” But open floor plans can contribute to burnout. Our last blog scratched the surface of this problem (Read: Is the open space office burning people out?). Let’s dig a little deeper to unearth more practical fixes.


  • A noisy, active office can cause burnout. It can negatively impact an employee’s sense of autonomy, causing anxiety. Open spaces can burn introverts out more quickly (50% of the workforce). Regardless of introversion and extroversion, noise in the office is linked to reduced productivity and stress which leads to burnout.

  • An open space can also exhaust a team with information unrelated to the goal at hand. It can fail to give employees control over their mental bandwidth. Too much information tires the mind and weakens decision-making.

  • 5 ways to address burnout in the open office? Get Proactive Communicate about it. Encourage struggling employees to take regular micro-breaks in quiet spaces; Zone the Office Partitions and office pods lend privacy and comfort, eliminating noise while keeping the layout flexible; Soundmask Reduce background speech intelligibility; Invest Work pods like hushPhone give privacy and quiet to both the pod user and team at large; Add “Fuzz” If the office echoes. Soundproofing, sound dampening, and sound absorbing materials do the trick.

  • Why do work pods work? Multi-faceted acoustics benefit. Privacy. Visual calm. A sense of autonomy over one’s space — the holy grail of hybrid office design.

A noisy, active office can burn employees out.

An open space is full of sensory distractions. Without soundproof acoustic solutions like sound absorbing panels and foams, sensory overload results, a fast track to burnout. This is because noise and activity impede concentration while negatively impacting an employee’s sense of autonomy. This causes unnecessary anxiety at work.

Burnout might seem abstract or cerebral, but it physically affects the brain, and can impact it in permanent ways. So it’s important we tweak and retrofit our open spaces to support focus. Look to environmental factors like sound and sight which impact people immediately and deeply

– explains Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.

Without private environments such as conference rooms, soundproof phone booths, or office meeting pods, the office bombards employees with relative chaos, making them feel powerless in their environment. As such, it misses an awesome opportunity to be a sanctuary of focus in a hybrid world. Half-remote employees with imperfect home office setups crave this sanctuary.

Although shared spaces are geared toward collaboration, they can actually hinder focus, and stress people out. And stress of any kind can contribute to burnout. This explains why noisy open office spaces are linked to anxiety. A 2016 study shows reduced mental health is linked with environmental noise. “Noise” being defined as any form of sound that’s unpleasant or distracting. Workplace noise is shown to raise heart disease risk factors. Environmental stressors like background office noise affect both the mind and the body.

Open spaces burn out introverts more quickly.

And introverts make up 50% of the workforce. Introverted people need quiet to concentrate and solitude to stay centered. They prefer to work alone or in small teams, and are easily drained by larger groups. Having a heightened sensitivity to stimuli, too much activity in their workspace leaves them distracted, unfocused, and less effective.

Open offices can subject introverted employees to constant stress. Private phone booths and offices pods are a sanctuary.

We all process information through our senses in different ways. Some of us are basically sensory seeking, some, basically sensory avoiding. But all of us shift between the two to some degree. If the office lacks a range of environments with a range of soundscapes and stimuli levels, it fails to give employees control over their work environment. Comfort as well as output suffer in this case

adds Mateusz Barczyk, Senior Brand Manager, Hushoffice.