Managing Sound Within the Workplace

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As employees slowly migrate back into the office, employers are being forced to think about and reconsider their office layouts. With some employees coming in only on select days or contractors needing to utilize shared spaces, popular open environment layouts that help support those needs only create huge problems when it comes to noise mitigation.

Poor acoustics can be a huge distractor for office workers and modern workplace layouts only make the issue worse. Noises within an open environment can be echoed all throughout the space and every time the phone rings or short conversations take place, the reverberation can create the feeling of a chaotic office environment.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By strategically deploying acoustic treatments and sound masking solutions, along with other design components, you can help reduce noise pollution and create an office environment rife for productivity. Below are some things to consider as you examine your noise pollution issues and some options to help reduce and mitigate overall noise levels within your office space.

Acoustic treatments

Acoustic treatments can help target surfaces that contribute to a room’s sound reverberation, which is when sound waves bounce off of surfaces and create a repetition of the noise in your ear, and noise transfer issues, which is linked to sound moving through hard surfaces. Acoustic foam can be placed and can greatly improve the overall acoustics of the room due to the sound-absorbent properties of the foam. Working with a consultant like Hush Acoustics, employers can have a number of tests conducted within their office space, including reverberation time testing, STC and IIC tests, and mechanical system noise testing to help identify the best solutions for your needs.

Sounds masking

After receiving recommendations from testing results, you may want to work with a technology provider to build out an in-office sound masking system that includes signal generators, speakers, surface transducers, and other self-contained systems. These improvements can help in areas where speech privacy is paramount and white noise is needed, which when played at a consistent level can combat unwanted noise. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, the AtlasIED Z Series not only assists with sound masking, but can also provide in-office paging and background music.

Noise-cancelling headphones

Employers can purchase noise-cancelling headphones and provide them to each employee for use when working within shared work spaces. High quality brands like Shure, Jabra and Sennheiser can offer up to 100% noise reduction with their products, making it a simple, low maintenance solution to reduce noise distractors for employees.

Quiet rooms

Many companies are repurposing private office spaces into quiet rooms, which are places employees can take a break and read, think, meditate, or even take a quick nap. These rooms show employees that employers care about their well-being and understand the importance of work-life balance. These rooms can include white noise machines, sound masking systems, and acoustic treatments to truly help employees feel disconnected from the daily grind.

Bringing back the cubicle

The traditional cubicle office layout is proven to reduce overall noise levels and even low-level partitions have proven effective. These can help reduce individual noise that may take place when employees are video conferencing or taking phone calls at their desk or work area.

Walk this way

When thinking about your room’s acoustics, don’t forget to look down. Ceramic and concrete flooring can create a high concentration of noise pollution. Carpet is a possible solution for noise reduction but LVT flooring or engineered hardwood can help further with sound absorption, especially when paired with rubber underlayment.

Interested in acoustic treatments for your office? Contact us today!