While the benefits of adopting an open plan office for improving productivity and collaboration are plain to see, unless it’s planned properly, it can have the corollary effect of introducing unwanted background noise into the work environment.
In certain operations, such as call management centres for example, a certain level of background noise or “buzz” can help to keep teams motivated and energised. However in most instances, chattering colleagues and other audible distractions can make it difficult for employees to concentrate on their work; according to Techradar this can cut down on productivity to the tune of 66% in some cases. In order to ensure that everyone can work to the best of their abilities, it’s essential to take measures to reduce office noise. A professional fitout company like Creative Space Services will guide you expertly through these options. In this article we list 3 simple yet effective strategies for tackling the problem of ambient noise when undertaking an office fitout project.
Incorporate open areas for staff to socialise in
Nobody would claim that it’s either healthy or constructive for employees to stay locked into their work for the entire day: socialising with colleagues on a regular basis is stimulating and ultimately improves morale. That said, you want to keep the office floor as a place of work first and foremost, and to prevent the office from turning it into a cattle market, a simple fix is to incorporate a number of convenient open areas into your office design. Suggestions could include:
- The provision of collaborative spaces
- Small canteen areas with coffee machines and fridges
- Recreational areas with features such as pool and ping pong tables
- Group work stations, booths and meeting rooms
Introduce noise damping surfaces
This is a relatively simple solution, and can go a long way in reducing acoustic distractions in the office. Options abound for noise cancelling methods, including:
- Introducing sound insulated ceiling tiles and adding a splash of sound damping paint
- Installing equipment for masking the noise emitted by HVAC systems, including duct silencers, noise-absorbing duct wrapping and low frequency sound absorbers
- Installing echo cancelling carpeting
While the noise these aspects of the work environment emit tend to be of a low level in isolation, taken together they can be a major source of noise and distractions. Using the above tactics can really cut down on this sort of ambient noise.
Choose the right furniture
You may be surprised by the impact appropriately sized fabric or fibre-glass partitions between neighbouring employees can have on noise levels as they do block sound transmission between workstations very effectively. Generally speaking, partitions should be at least 60 inches high to be effective in this regard: this also yields the benefit of breaking the line of sight between adjacent employees, which can also be a major source of distraction in itself. These panels should possess an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) of .75; this prevents transmitted sound from being reflected back over the head of employees when speaking towards the partition. Other simple measures that can be taken include adding plants, and reducing the number of hard surfaces also eliminates echoing.
Creative Space Services: office fitout specialists
Here at Creative Space Solutions we specialise in the open office fitout. We’ve completed a diverse range of open office fitouts, which you can view here. Why not get in touch with us today to discuss your office fitout requirements?