What are three primary noise factors that can disrupt workplace communication? How can they be overcome?

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In a physical sense, several things might impede workplace communication:

1) People differ in the amount of distraction they are able to manage while working. While one person (A) may be able to work in a bustling coffee shop at a local work co-op, another person (B) may require a silent cubicle in order to be productive. With that in mind, person A might be easily distracted in quieter environments, where a single noise could pull them off-task. On the other hand, person B might be distracted by office chatting, which is their version of "noise." Given that both of these people might be trying to communicate via email, workplace communication is disrupted in both situations.

2) Oftentimes, it's important to take phone calls in a workplace environment. Within an organization that receives a lot of phone calls, it might be distracting to hold a phone conversation while hearing other phones ringing in the background. To solve this, an organization might have a system with a light that lights up when a person is calling, rather than having a phone ring. Computer screen alerts function similarly.

3) Background office noise can also impede communication. If construction is underway while a worker is trying to communicate with their boss, coworkers, or clients, the distraction of background noise might make it difficult to hold conversation. Other distracting background noises might include a loud computer fan, an air conditioning unit, a refrigerator, or a busy street outside.

In a psychological sense, other things can impede workplace communication:

1) Preconceptions about out coworkers might affect the way in which we communicate with them. For example, if person A thinks person B is a lazy worker, they may treat person B with little patience. That attitude might impede the conversation in such a way that makes person B feel inferior or less respected in their environment. In this way, communication is disrupted by the noise of judgment.

2) Similarly, gender issues come to mind regarding psychological noise. Person A (a man) may approach person B (a woman) as if they are less than an equal. Often, this social attitude makes communication difficult between male workers and female workers, both of whom might harbor resentment for the other based on workplace respect, pay, and privilege.

3) Finally, language barriers can introduce "noise" into a communication loop. For example, if person A's first language is French and person B's first language is Arabic, but they are communicating in English, they are both one degree removed from the language in which they are communicating. That means that they are two degrees removed from each others' language and communication styles.  

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Several forms of "noise" can disrupt workplace communications. In this context, noise can be used in a literal, physical sense or as a technical term in communication theory meaning anything that interferes with transmission or communication of a signal.

On a simple physical level, noise can disrupt or limit effective communication. Loud music, heavy machinery, or extraneous noises can make it impossible to hear what other people are saying or make it hard to concentrate. This is often considered a significant downside to open office plans.

Psychological noise includes the mental baggage we bring into communications, such as racial or gender stereotyping and our own preconceptions, that may get in the way of our paying attention to what other people are trying to communicate.

Physiological noise includes issues such a pain, thirst, hunger, alcohol consumption, or sleep deprivation that may serve to distract us from focusing on the message the sender is communicating. 

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