Noise is among the most common complaints raised by employees working in collaborative office settings, especially in open-concept offices where employees are situated jointly in a large space with little to no separation. If you have ever worked in the same environment, you know how diverting the constant activity of a busy workplace can be. It can cause increased stress, reduce productivity distractions, and affect employee job satisfaction. So, if you or your employees suffer from a noisy office, assume one or more of the following solutions.
This blog post will explore effective ways to reduce the noise in your open-plan office.
Ways to Reduce Noise in Your Open Office:
Managing sound inevitably poses a challenge whenever a considerable crowd gathers in a shared environment. This scenario frequently arises in open office setups, where effective communication can be hindered, and distractions emerge, leading to employee frustration. Employing proactive strategies for noise reduction in open offices can greatly help. Presented below are the top ten approaches you can adopt to minimize noise within such a workspace:
Install Acoustic Pods
Acoustic pods serve as self-contained havens where employees can engage in focused work, creative brainstorming, and undisturbed concentration away from their desks. Picture it as a personal workspace that shields from external disruptions. Setting up and relocating these pods is effortless, catering to various budget considerations. The most notable advantage of acoustic pods is their remarkable capacity to eliminate and confine sound. Certain models can effectively block out as much as 100% of noise, creating a serene environment that benefits both the user of the office pod and the broader workspace, fostering enhanced concentration.
Broadcast White Noise
Sudden and jarring sounds can significantly disrupt people’s concentration. To counteract these interruptions, consider offering white noise machines to your employees or positioning one centrally within the office. These machines emit a blend of gentle, noise-masking frequencies that soften open office sounds’ cacophony. White noise comprises an evenly balanced range of frequencies, providing a foundational level of auditory input that can divert our attention from other noises. This quality makes it a valuable resource for maintaining focus in bustling office environments.
Provide Noice-Cancelling Headphones
The finest noise-cancelling headphones can transform even the most bustling open office into a tranquil library setting. Initially designed for pilots, these noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds have become an exceptionally efficient option accessible to everyone. Operating with built-in microphones, these headphones detect and counter low-frequency noise before it reaches your ears. By perfectly phase-inverting the received sounds, they generate a phenomenon where two sounds negate each other, effectively erasing unwanted noise.
Add Office Partitions
An open office need not remain entirely open; introducing well-positioned partitions can significantly enhance sound management. Constructed from materials like polyester or cotton, these partitions operate like acoustic panels. They proficiently absorb sound, transforming sound energy into minimal heat dissipating rapidly. As these partitions are not affixed to the walls, they offer flexibility, easily relocated within the space by a couple of individuals as required. Beyond sound reduction, they also contribute visual privacy, empowering your employees to fully immerse themselves in their tasks.
Implement Acoustic Wall Panels
Employing sound-absorbing materials strategically throughout a space can effectively minimize incoming noise, rendering acoustic wall panels a valuable remedy for tackling the noise challenge in open-plan offices. Yet, some might hastily dismiss this option because standard wall panels lack visual appeal. Furthermore, the market is flooded with wall panels that assert sound absorption capabilities, although not all live up to this claim. Therefore, it’s prudent to request evidence of a sound test to validate the efficacy of such panels.
Use Furniture to Absorb Noice
Strategically placed furniture can serve as a barrier to sound, forming semi-enclosed spaces even within an open layout. Furniture can reflect and absorb sound strategically by introducing textured and irregular surfaces. Upholstered sofas and chairs with soft materials like chenille, suede, corduroy, and microfiber prove especially adept at absorbing sound. For optimal results, position furniture near the primary sources of noise within your office space to effectively absorb sound waves. Tapestries and curtains also offer viable sound-dampening options.
Add Undearly to Flooring
Office floors commonly consist of hard surfaces that amplify noise, but there are effective approaches to minimize sound reflection. Opting for carpet or vinyl flooring, coupled with soundproofing underlay such as the Soundproof Cow Impact QT Floor Underlayment, can significantly dampen many impact-related noises in open office settings, including footsteps, dropped items, and moving chairs. Installing these underlays is straightforward and can substantially reduce overall noise levels within your office.
Use Soundproofing Insulations
Implementing robust soundproofing insulation offers a dual advantage of enhanced energy efficiency and sound control. Applying soundproofing insulation to your walls effectively diminishes noise originating from two key sources: airborne and impact. Airborne sound comprises external noise or disturbances from neighbouring rooms, while impact noise results from collisions with the wall, like bumps or knocks. Opting for thicker insulation amplifies the sound-reduction capabilities of your walls, irrespective of the noise source.
Block Sounds with Plants
Plants are excellent sound barriers and enhance your office environment’s aesthetics and air quality. Specific plants boasting lush foliage excel in sound insulation. Evergreen shrubs such as junipers and hollies are particularly effective at reducing noise due to their abundant and dense branches. To maximize their sound-mitigating attributes, position these shrubs adjacent to solid walls, thus amplifying their noise-cancelling qualities.
Addressing the issue of noise in open office environments is crucial for maintaining a productive and focused workspace. By incorporating strategies like acoustic pods, white noise machines, noise-cancelling headphones, partitions, acoustic wall panels, furniture placement, sound-absorbing flooring, soundproofing insulation, and plant barriers, employers can create a more conducive atmosphere that enhances employee concentration and well-being. These practical solutions offer a comprehensive approach to reducing noise, ultimately fostering a more harmonious and efficient open office setting.