Office noise levels have increasingly been an issue since the open plan trend took force thanks to Google. More and more businesses are doing away with individual offices and cubicles for large, open shared spaces that encourage collaboration. Group settings are a great layout for brainstorming and working as a team. However, there are still tasks that employees need to complete that require concentration, privacy and noise levels a little bit quieter than a traditional open plan fitout allows.
How to combat noise in the office
1. Soft surfaces
Hard surfaces promote the travel of noise as it doesn’t get absorbed into the surrounding, rather bouncing around the space. As a noise is carried further it distracts and disrupts more people.
Softer surfaces absorb more sounds than their hard counterparts. This absorption of sound makes for a quieter workspace that allows people to focus as needed.
Plants naturally absorb the sound around them. By decorating a space with a screen or hedge of small potted plants you will find that a lot of the noise in these areas gets absorbed and doesn’t travel throughout the office.
This decline in background noise thanks to the plants increase employee concentration and improves their productivity.
As a bonus, they also look nice, liven up a room and create atmosphere for an office. Some plants are more appropriate than others when it comes to absorbing office sound so do your research.
While it is against the open plan trend, fabric-covered partitions are brilliant for office sound absorption. Partitions that are covered in a soft fabric will soak up sound waves that hit them, rather than bouncing them back into the area and creating an echo.
This increases privacy for industries that need it like insurance or finance and again prevents staff becoming distracted by other people’s conversations.
If you have your heart set on an open plan design there are ways around lack of partitions to absorb sound. Install sound absorbing partitions into office walls to minimise echo and the amount of sound that travels.
An easy way to make a huge improvement to the sound dynamics in your office is with the flooring. Hard surfaces like cement will create echo and be very loud. Softer flooring like carpet or linoleum will assist in sound absorption and decrease echo in your office space.
If budget limitations or lease terms mean you are unable to change the flooring, large rugs can do the trick and much like the plants will add character to your office.
Adding insulation to the walls and roof of your office are great if budget and lease terms allow it. This will decrease the noise due to absorption and create a more comfortable office temperature.
Older windows are often a single pane. Replacing old windows with two or three pane windows will limit the outside noise and the ability of inside noise to travel.
Thick, solid doors should be replaced where thin, hollow doors currently are in use. The same goes for furniture. Solid desks, drawers and bookcases can all assist in absorbing sound and stopping the impact of natural office noise.
Wanting a quieter office? Perth Citi Fitout can help. We can recommend and install the best noise reducing solutions for your business needs and your office space. Contact us today on (08) 9249 1347 or drop us a line on our website.