According to one study described in the Wall Street Journal blog, a little bit of talking in the background prompts the brain to think more creatively. While such a claim (like one about beauty) can only be tested subjectively, there does appear to be some evidence that a bit of a hubbub can shake up a person’s mental state and help them think outside the box. That being said, too much noise was detrimental in the study. This raises a question about the modern workspace. How much should you try to control the noise level?
Part of the answer probably depends on how much of your employees’ work actually depends on creativity. There are certainly a few jobs in which creative thinking plays an important role – from marketing to problem solving. But do most of your workers really need to be brainstorming whizzes, or do they simply need peace and quiet to focus on tasks that require more logic and attention to detail and less imagination?