• From facilitating focus work to blocking out background noise, headphones have become the ‘walls’ of shared workspaces
  • Coworking members frequently wear headphones to prevent distractions, but is it counter-intuitive to building a healthy coworking community?
  • The Farm co-founder, Lucas Seyhun, and Headspace Group’s Community Assistant, Danielle Tinsley, along with three members of Headspace, share their thoughts

Open-plan offices have long been blamed for killing productivity. Noise, chatter, phones ringing, loud talkers, coughs and sniffles, even loud eaters contribute to a fragmented working pattern splintered by distractions. Not exactly a proven recipe for productivity.

In a joint study with Haworth, Dezeen slammed open-plan offices for “sabotaging” employees’ ability to focus at work. The study states that on average, office workers lose 28% of their productive time due to interruptions and distractions at work.

And yet, shared offices and coworking spaces continue to soar in popularity. Deskmag’s latest researchsuggests that 1.7 million people will be coworking by the end of 2018. The benefits of coworking are clear – but every shared workspace has its fair share of noise and distractions.

The classic solution is to work with a pair of headphones or earphones.

Dubbed the ‘new walls’ of shared or open-plan offices, headphones allow workers to block out background noise during tasks that require intense concentration and focus.

Danielle Tinsley, Community Assistant at Headspace Group in the UK, says it’s very common to see coworking members using headphones throughout the day. “There is a pretty even split. Probably around 50% of our coworking members are regularly using headphones.”

Likewise, Lucas Seyhun, co-founder of The Farm in New York says the majority of their members use headphones, typically listening to music while working on tasks that require focus.