In today’s modern office space, the layout is a general open concept with the individual workspaces divided into cubicles. Employees have exposure to interoffice conversations that distract focus from critical duties, not to mention the various random ringing phones disrupting from the ability to hear when engaged in an urgent call. Some managers find this to be a more collaborative surrounding for which a team can more easily work together. Others deem the noise offensive and an incapable environment for employee productivity.
The constant noises associated with the modern office are affecting all the employees trying to operate under those conditions. Many of whom would prefer the silence of their own space where they can focus on their duties. Unless there’s proper planning at the office to allow for acoustic control, the open designs complete with their solid, noise reflecting surfaces are creating havoc as far as employee satisfaction, particularly with those who can’t produce with extraneous noise. The problem is not going unnoticed with employers looking for solutions to allow greater acoustic comfort within the office atmosphere.
Decreasing Offensive Sound Levels In The Office
Company managers are finding that they need to implement solutions to their noise levels within their open-space office settings before they develop long-term problems like reduced employee production, a decrease in retention, and low job satisfaction.
** Office Spaces Dedicated For Loud And Quiet Areas
Set up the floor plan in a way that there are designated areas for situations that would deem as disruptive and another area for those that are quiet. Housing a majority of the office machinery in the ‘loud’ area, including more significant printers, copiers, anything producing a lot of sounds, would keep them isolated, preventing disruptions in other areas of the office. If there is a kitchen or cafeteria or even a break room, these should be apart from the general workspace as they tend to get loud as do restrooms. Conference rooms or meeting halls where there is a lot of conversation happening need to have their own area and the lobby should be unto itself where there is a lot of traffic coming in and out.
As far as creating a specific quiet zone inside an open-air office, the suggestion is to have private office space that employees can sign in to on occasions where they have a particularly challenging assignment or a tight deadline.
** Flooring That Will Detract From Sound Reflections
Impact noises can be controlled typically with carpets, which is particularly suitable for masking footfalls from employees traveling throughout the office. If you want the floors to help reduce the noise level from the disruptions, such as the conversations, you can add a layer of mass under the carpet for the absorption of the sound. It should be resilient, dense padding, which would include something like one of the heaviest, shredded rubber matting. You can also use cork subfloor or hard foam paneling. Carpet installed over top of concrete flooring needs no additional layer for mass, but a pad will increase the lifespan of your carpeting. Go to https://www.theverge.com/2016/9/18/12950500/office-noise-headphones-white-noise-hearing-loss-damage to gain more information on noisy corporations and solutions.
** Bring Plants Indoor To Soften The Sounds
Using nature in the workplace is becoming a trend in the modern age for a multitude of reasons. Plants can increase the air quality, but they bring a sense of calm and relaxation for the people working with them as well. Plants are also capable of acoustic control. Similar to carpeting, a large office plant can keep sound waves from reverberating throughout open areas. It’s essential to speak with a nursery to find out which species can thrive indoors with little sunlight if you want to try this out. Ficus trees and peace lilies do well within office spaces.
** Sound Control Or Noise Canceling Devices
If you find that traditional acoustic control techniques are incapable of alleviating the situation within the office, there are a number of electronics that have possibilities for canceling sound. There is the option of incorporating random natural masking sounds that will obscure the annoying distractions. There are waterfall sounds, white noise, which sounds like static, pink noise similar to white but said to be more soothing. The devices have many benefits, aside from merely masking sounds. There are some industries, such as the medical field who use them as a means of protecting confidentiality when having private patient conversations.
** Privacy Through Noise Canceling Headsets
More people are engaging in wearing headsets or earbuds to cancel sound, mostly the millennial generation bringing their own acoustic control devices to their jobs. Though the headsets are generally for music, more are using ANR or Active Noise Reduction technology. With this technology, adaptive algorithms make corresponding noises similar to the sounds heard coming in with an ‘inverted phase waveform.’ When the two similar sounds meet, they cancel out and elimination of the background noise takes place.
A modern office with a beautiful, open design concept is undoubtedly the appeal when a manager is attempting to recruit potential prospects and retain talented employees. The corporate spaces of today are office-less, sometimes even without cubicles, with meeting rooms enclosed in glass. Each offers a unique statement, making a remarkable first impression for someone coming in for an initial interview. For the employees working in the atmosphere, the noises that come with the open concept can be a disruption and distraction, with managers doing their best to try to find a solution. Find out here how to stay sane in a loud corporate setting.
These spaces can be a nightmare as far as sound traveling around the area. It’s tough for a hard surface to absorb sound, generally requiring softer materials in an effort to minimize the noise. The market is chock-full of noise-canceling options along with a multitude of other acoustic control techniques that managers can incorporate. The bottom line is to make the work atmosphere pleasant so employees can accomplish their duties productively with focus and comfort.