If you’ve worked in an office setting, you’re likely aware of how distracting the workplace can be. While it is inevitable to some degree, poor sound acoustics can make an office space drastically less productive for all employees and reduce privacy, especially when dealing with sensitive information.
Below are the 3 most common problems of workplace acoustics along with their solutions:
Problem No. 1:
My office has an open workspace, my employees see each other, talk to each other, hear each other’s phone calls. It’s so distracting! What do we do?
Solution: Privacy is key in this situation. If employees are constantly hearing and seeing each other, it decreases the notion that they are responsible for their own noise. Adding panels, or cubicles, of some kind can be key to reducing workplace noise and creating better acoustics. Even the selected panels are important. Having high panels gives the impression of an office that insulates noise (even though it doesn’t) while lower or glass panels provides privacy to separate space while encouraging individuals to keep it down.
Problem No. 2:
My office has lots of noise from the people in the open office space and even seems to echo in our conference room. How do we fix that?
Solution: Concrete, glass, and painted sheetrock all reflect the sound created by employees on a normal day to day basis—phone calls, desk drawers opening, conversations, typing on keyboards, etc. There are now products on the market to mitigate exactly this problem. Sound-absorbing wall panels, ceiling tile, and carpet can help make your workplace a more acoustic friendly placed to work. Designing the office space with these materials in place or swapping out the appropriate products is a great way to solve this issue.
Problem No. 3:
My office is so silent that any kind of noise can be heard from 50 feet away. If anyone eats a snack, whispers to their neighbor, or coughs, it’s disruptive. How do we fix this?
Solution: Adding some background noise (not too quiet, not too loud) can help to muffle these harmless noises that will occur in any office space. This could be music, a sound machine, a fan, or another type of noise that isn’t distracting but serves as a sound equalizer, so the office space isn’t eerily quiet or focused on the single person eating a bag of chips.
If you’re having one, or all, of the above issues in your workplace, never fear. Implementing these solutions can help make the office more functional and productive for all involved.
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