Offices are spaces where a significant number of people spend a large portion of their days during the week. If they are uncomfortable or frustrating to use, that’s a large chunk of someone’s time that they’re spending in less than ideal circumstances—not to mention the toll that a noisy environment can take on their quality of work. If your business is part of the creative field then office sound reduction is a must.
Due to this, businesses should invest in office noise reduction measures for their offices, but actually accomplishing this task isn’t always clear-cut. Here’s what you need to know about how to reduce noise in an office based on what you already own, what kind of noise you have and what your budget allows.
Why Office Sound Reduction Matters
So there’s a little bit of noise echoing around—a constant low hum that signifies people working and chatting. Who cares? As it turns out, almost everyone cares. Workplaces being too loud is one of the top five reasons why people are frustrated with their working environment, with the lack of privacy of their conversations rated as number one in offices with cubicles.
Making employees comfortable shows that you care and can improve morale, which in turn results in better work quality. However, sound reduction can also directly tie into your profits and business success.
When employees are exposed to constant noise, they must deal with consistent distractions that dampen their productivity. Customers who visit or call might not be able to hear well if there’s too much going on, and in environments where machinery is being used, the noise can drown out people’s warnings or communications to each other.
Consider Plants and Other Interrupters
One of the most budget-friendly interventions for noise in your office is to install interrupters—that is, objects that stop sound waves from reaching a flat surface. Plants are the most common choice here.
Whether they’re tall, bushy or spindly doesn’t matter; what matters is that you have irregularly shaped objects that can disrupt sound waves as they travel. You can also use decorative items for this purpose, just make sure that they are not smooth or flat.
Change the Flooring Styles
The reason that spaces become so loud is due to sound waves bouncing off of flat or smooth surfaces. While your walls are likely a prime suspect, it’s easy to forget about the floors.
If your business is covered in smooth floors like tile or vinyl, think about what you can do to add texture. Carpet is an ideal choice, but not all work spaces are cut out for it. Mass-loaded vinyl and other water-resistant options exist to cut down on noise without having to choose something plush.
Use Acoustic Art Panels
If you’re looking for an effective and aesthetically pleasing office noise reduction option, sound absorption panels are a great choice. Often referred to as acoustic art, these sound-dampening installations mimic artworks like paintings or photographs.
However, they are made of fabric and a soft material that keeps sound waves from bouncing. As an added benefit, acoustic art is customizable, which means you can select an appearance that meshes well with your current aesthetic or even features your business logo.
Move What’s Already There
Your office noise problems could be the result of your current layout. Before you think about demolishing walls and restructuring the entire area, think about what you can move. Can cubicles be adjusted with the angles of sound wave reflection in mind? Can you move decorations and flat objects that bounce sound into an already loud or communal space to keep workspaces quieter? Are you using rugs to their fullest effect?
As an intermediate step between using what’s already there and investing in something new, consider movable walls or other large obstructions.
These are portable and adjustable but confer many of the same noise-canceling benefits as their more permanent counterparts, which means that you don’t need to jump directly to making significant alterations to the physical structure of your space. Leave demolition and new construction for a later date, if it’s necessary at all.
Trust the Pros to Help You Secure High-Quality Noise Reduction
Noise in an office can have a dramatic impact on not only workers’ happiness but also their productivity and the overall quality of their work. Investing in office noise reduction technologies and even adjusting what’s already there can make a significant difference.
If you’re struggling to control noise in your office, acoustic art panels and similar installations are some of the most powerful changes you can make.