Coping strategies and perceived productivity in open-plan offices with noise problems

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To study effects of different sources of noise in office environments on perceived productivity, how different types of employees cope with different noise sources, and the perceived effect of different coping strategies on individual productivity.

Data on coping behavior and noise perception was collected through a survey among 150 employees of 3 organizations with an office in the Netherlands. These were analyzed with X2-tests and the lift-ratio.

When coping with noise, people are most inclined to either “Make even a greater effort” or “Discuss the noise problem with colleagues,” despite the expectation that this does not have a major positive effect on their productivity. Overall, approach coping strategies were chosen less often than the avoidance coping strategies. There are clear preferences for specific coping strategies when exposed to specific noise sources. Personal differences did not appear to relate to the perception of noise sources but did show differences in coping behavior as well.

This study adds insights about preferred coping strategies for specific noise sources, differences in these preferences related to specific personal characteristics, and how successful these strategies are perceived to be with regard to support of individual productivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2020


  • counterproductive work behaviour
  • employee well-being
  • knowledge workers
  • job performance
  • generational differences

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