A noisy workplace, especially in an open office, can be more than just an annoyance – it’s a major distraction that can cause a drop in productivity because of the constant activity that’s buzzing around you. If you’ve ever worked in a similar environment, we feel you. Hence, we present to you some ideas that businesses can do to reduce unwanted noise.
#1 Noise Friendly Flooring
Hard flooring surfaces like natural wood, porcelain and ceramic are archetypes that can create massive amount of noise pollution. Carpet is an ideal flooring solution for noise reduction, but opt for vinyl flooring instead. Apart from its sound absorption qualities, it is versatile, easy to maintain and have a variety of design options.
#2 Sound Friendly Furniture
If you have the budget, try sound absorbing furniture i.e. high back acoustic sofas, acoustic baffles, privacy lamp shades or partitions. It can be used to create private or social spaces for relaxation, brainstorming, informal team working sessions or meetings.
#3 Acoustic Wall Panel
Sound absorbing wall panels are incredibly effective and can reduce noise pollution in a large and open office setting. If you’re a DIY person or only have a shoestring budget to work with, check soundproofingtips or instructables for ideas.
If traditional acoustical paneling won’t fit into the space, here’s another option to consider. Surround the hanging light fixtures with the panels to help absorb sounds in the room and improve its use both acoustically and visually.
#4 Dedicated Quiet Place
Sometimes, it’s good to get away to a quiet place within your work space. WeWork for example, designed a room where phones and speaking with raised voices is not allowed for the benefit of those who need peace and quiet to focus and work. Alas, not every company has the budget or the space to create individual rooms dedicated to silence, but there are alternatives.
You can utilise furniture to create the feeling of isolation. With comfortable seating options, strategically placed paneling and good lighting design, it is possible to create spaces for the individual that give the illusion of appearing secluded from the larger world outside, without having to bear the hefty cost of constructing an entire room.
As a creative option, you can also create a dedicated discussion area where teams can work in isolation and away from distractions.
#5 Indoor Plants
There is nothing that nature can’t do. Plants can help improve air quality, productivity, employee health and well-being, as well as drown out a little noise. The obvious aesthetic benefits are a definite plus as well. Well-placed plants have been proven to be effective in reducing noise levels in an open office setting. The larger the plant the bigger the impact. If you need some insights on low maintenance plants, check out inhabitat.com .
#6 Get Headphones
A pair of large headphones can sometimes serve as an obvious indicator that you prefer not to be disturbed and in effect, help you be more productive whilst gaining you some privacy. Large, over-the-ear headphones often help reduce unwanted noise better than earbuds. For a better, but pricier option, try noise cancelling or isolation headphones. It doesn’t completely block the unwanted noise, but good enough to muffle the surrounding sounds and allow you to listen to music that drives you.
Although the many options can help reduce noise to a certain extent, do take note that there will never be such a thing as a completely quiet office space. Open office space environments thrive on multiple levels of collaboration between employees that may not be effective for all companies in different industries. Thus, the key is to find the perfect balance that makes sense for your workplace and the people driving your business.