Employees working in almost every industry are at risk of noise levels contributing to a breakdown in communication. In some extreme cases of excessive noise levels, employees can be found yelling to their coworkers just a few feet away! Even the most in-tune employees can have problems communicating when noise levels surpass the standards.
As an example, let’s look at a situation that happened to NFL legend Peyton Manning in one of the biggest games of his career.
During Super Bowl 48, Manning and the Denver Broncos started out with the ball. Competing against the team with one of the loudest fan bases, the Seattle Seahawks, stadium noise played as a disadvantage early in the game. Due to the excessive noise levels from cheering fans, Manny Ramirez – the Broncos center – did not hear Manning call for the first snap of the game. When Ramirez finally did snap the ball, it went right over the shoulder of Manning and into the end zone, where the Seahawks tackled the Broncos for a safety and a 2-0 lead early on. They would go on to lose a game in which they had been favored, and many attribute the loss to that early communication failure between quarterback and center.
When the Denver Broncos returned to the Super Bowl just two seasons later, they were prepared. Not only did they have an all-time great at quarterback and one of the most ferocious defenses in modern history, but practicing in a high-noise setting allowed them to work out the challenges of communicating in an extremely loud environment. It must have paid off, because they went on to earn the victory that had eluded them two seasons prior!
If even elite athletes from the National Football League have issues performing with excessive noise, then that means your employees are also at risk.
Controlling noise levels in the workplace not only creates a safer, healthier work environment but it also can reduce or eliminate a constant distraction by allowing employees to communicate more effectively and increase their job productivity.