The concept of an open office is one in which employees are positioned together in a sizeable space without division and in some cases little division. A good advantage of an open office environment is it produces an air of cooperation amongst employees. Now, noise can be defined as an unwanted sound and has become among the most common complaints mentioned by those who work in a corporate office environment, the continuous activity of an active office space can be quite distracting.
Studies have shown that this same open office environment that creates an air of cooperation among employees if noise is not dealt with in an open office environment it can lead to reduced productivity and increased stress.
What are the ways to reduce noise in an open office environment?
The distraction caused by noise is one of the biggest killers of productivity in today’s workplace, from the sound of the clattering of multiple keyboards, eavesdropped phone calls and other small trivial sounds can build up into a big noise menace.
If you plan to enhance productivity and cooperation in your open office then you must solve the problem of noise. However, solving the noise problem does not mean destroying the air of cooperation among employees an open office provides by building walls that keep people apart. Here I will be showing you practical ways to reduce noise in your open office environment.
Introduce indoor plants into your office space
Plants offer many benefits to your open office space ranging from improving air quality, employee’s health, productivity and happiness as well as absorb some of the noise produced. Open office environment with lots of hard surfaces like marble walls and timber floor can put to use indoor plants to minimize noise issues. Properly positioned plants have proven to be effective in lowering noise levels in an open office space, the size of the plant is synonymous with the effect it has on the noise level. Apart from the aforementioned benefit, it increases the aesthetics and air quality of your open office space.
Provide a dedicated quiet space
Quiet spaces enhance individual focus and output. In many open offices, glass partitioned spaces are made available for managers for privacy concerns. It is good to have a quiet place you can escape to within your office space, although sometimes the conference room is used for this purpose, it is best to have dedicated quiet space in an open office environment for workers who need separation for difficult tasks.
Work on your office flooring
Changing your flooring material can create a huge effect on your entire office space. Hard flooring surfaces like concrete or timber produce lots of noise and are poor at absorbing sound. For a change, carpets are good flooring surfaces for open offices, it is great for absorbing sound, adaptable, maintenance is easier, and there are various design possibilities.
Use of sound absorbing furniture
The use of sound absorbing furniture is a great way of reducing noise in an open office space. Sound absorbing furniture such as acoustic sofas, acoustic baffles, privacy partitions or lampshade. This sound absorbing furniture can be used to provide social or private areas for discussions, meetings, brainstorming, or relaxation.
Use of acoustic partitions and panels
The use of partitions and panels has been proven over time to be an effective way of controlling noise in an open office space. Modern partitions are made assembled with modern acoustics panel that makes them absorb sound and they also add to the aesthetics of your workspace. Partitions are not necessarily full; there are partial partitions that are also effective at reducing noise levels in the workplace.
Make use of acoustic wall panels
The use of sound absorbing wall panels have proven to be a very effective method of reducing noise levels in open office spaces. Sometimes due to space constraints, conventional wall panels would not fit into your office space. This can be remedied by surrounding hanging light features with sound absorbing panels to help with sound absorption and enhance the visual look of your office space.
Make use of background noise
An effective method of reducing noise in an open office environment is combating noise with noise. Okay, that sounded counterproductive right. However, you see background noise played in the immediate environment proven to help cover unwanted sounds, it works more like a mask. Examples of background noise are sounds of waterfall or rainfall or waves bumping into a beach.
A pair of large headphones over your ears is a sign that you are trying to stay focused and concentrate. With fewer disturbances, your productivity is definitely increased. Most times large headphones are more effective at eliminating unwanted noise than earbuds. Many top quality headphone brands claim hundred percent noise reductions by the use of a special process and microphones to produce a contrasting sound wave in relation to that in your office environment. Although these noise-canceling headphones come at a greater cost, and it doesn’t totally block the unwanted sound, it helps to stifle surrounding sounds and helps you stay focused.
Although, this could be more expensive and arduous but making use of sound insulation material you can successfully reduce the noise level of your office space.
Foster free movement within the office space
Some parts of an office space appear to be noisier than others, human traffic may be more in certain parts of the workspace thereby producing more noise. It may be quite difficult to manage the levels of the noise produced in these parts of the workspace. When employees are allowed to move freely from one area of the office to another they get to select the work atmosphere that works best for them. Some employees work better in a vibrant and active environment, while some love quite spaces. Movement autonomy helps your employees decide what working style fits them the most.
It is practically impossible to have a totally quiet office space, open office environments flourish by the level of cooperation and collaboration between employees that it open office space offers. The key is to maintain a method of reducing noise levels that work for your office environment.
IMAGE SOURCE: pixabay.com