Category Archives: Office Noise

The Silent Office

If you’re reading this in your office, how much noise are you hearing? Even if you’re not currently at work, can you imagine being there, and what sounds you would be hearing?

Modern workplaces can be noisy, and noise can be distracting. We’ve written before about Office Noise and ways in which to reduce it but were intrigued by a report that advocates silence for better concentration and productivity.

Two separate studies in 2013 found that the brain is always active, even when resting, and that the part of the brain that helps memories form can be prompted to increase cell development when allowed two hours of silence a day.

Noise has been shown to cause elevated levels of stress, whereas silence has the opposite effect. In our work spaces we are often bombarded with noise – people talking, printers printing, phones ringing – and finding a quiet space let alone a place of silence can seem impossible.

If the studies and the reports are correct though, ensuring that your office design incorporates spaces for employees to find a refuge from noise could help your businesses’ profitability and increase the productivity of your workforce. There are some stunning designs for individual and group work pods that could provide this space and as many are mobile, they can be incorporated into most current set ups.

A study published in Heart journal found that a mere 2 minutes of silence proved to be even more calming than listening to “relaxing” music, so let’s all find a place to turn off the noise and take time out to refocus on our work at hand. As the saying goes, silence really is golden.

How To Reduce Office Noise

Workplace noise can be an issue for some offices and commercial interiors, particularly for the open plan office. If you need to reduce the noise in your work place there are a variety of things that you can do working within the constraints of your current setup.

5 Ways To Reduce Office Noise

Slippers V Clogs: Lets start by looking down – we all know that if we’re wearing slippers the sound of our footsteps are muffled. Pop on some traditional clogs and it’ll sound as if a horse has trotted in. Work space flooring has several roles to meet; it needs to be easily cleaned, it needs to allow for office chairs on wheels to move, it needs to embellish the overall colour scheme and office design. But it can also be a big contributory factor to unwanted noise. Carpet and vinyl flooring will help to muffle noise whereas hard flooring options such as tiles, bare concrete and some wooden floors can exacerbate the acoustic problems.

Behind Closed Doors: Whilst there may be rooms within your workplace that are not always used so can therefore sometimes be quiet sanctuaries, if you have the facilities its worth investing in dedicated quiet rooms. Think library here, a space where everybody knows that if you enter its to find some quiet time. Some people need quiet areas to be truly productive, and designers are catching onto this need. US-based office furniture makers, Grand Rapids, have designed an office cube especially for peace-and-quiet loving workers.

King of Thrones: You may not feel that your employees warrant a throne, but high-backed office furniture serves to dampen office noise. As with our examples of office flooring, the harder the furnishings, the higher the noise levels. Of course, we can’t work on a soft office desk, but adding in settees, enclosed booths, fabric covered partitions and panels can all help to dampen the sounds in the office.

Green Fingers: The rise of biophilic office design has seen an increase in the amount of plants seen within commercial interiors. Correctly positioned plants are effective in reducing noise levels in an open office setting. The larger the plant the bigger the impact, and there is the added benefits of an improvement in air quality and the obvious aesthetic benefits.

Get Jiggy With It: Rethinking the layout of your office may seem a daunting prospect, but by looking at the bigger picture you may find that by re-jigging your office design you not only see the benefits of noise reduction, but you may reap the rewards of a more streamlined office that will improve overall productivity among all who work there.

Here at 20sixltd we have experience of helping commercial establishments and offices of all shapes and sizes to improve their workplace acoustics as well as being able to help streamline work spaces to enhance productivity. Please get in touch with us if you would like any further help or advice:

Is Office Noise Affecting Productivity?

A recent survey carried out by Oxford Economics on more than 1,200 senior executives and non-executive employees from a range of industries around the world, found that more than half of employees cited poor office acoustic design as reducing their satisfaction at work.

That’s a lot of unhappy people – not that you’d notice as the chances are if they tried to tell you, you wouldn’t be able to hear them.

Is Office Noise Affecting Productivity?

Are our modern offices really that bad? Is noise causing a threat to productivity and workers peace of mind?

The survey discovered that workers really want to be able to, well, work; and their ability to focus without interruptions is a top priority when it comes to office design. Much as we all love to fawn over the images of those offices that have slides, or cycle tracks, or games rooms, the results from this research suggested that access to amenities like these are far less important than being able to concentrate on the job at hand.

Improved office environments and workplace technology can enhance productivity, engagement, and happiness at work, both for executives and their employees. And there are a whole host of cost effective noise solutions out there that will stop workers from turning your conference rooms into de facto offices, defeating the purpose of both open-plan layouts and shared meeting spaces.

Maybe it’s time that you stopped to listen to the workspace that you inhabit – and to find out if you are able to hear what your work force are trying to say.

P.S In researching this blog post we discovered that there are some people who actually crave office noise. If you are one of those you may enjoy this:



Office Noise Solutions

Five Options To Reduce Your Office Noise

Whilst open plan offices allow light and air to flow freely, and are conducive to employee collaboration, they can also be very noisy working environments.

Counterproductive to workers being close enough to collaborate, noise distractions have been cited as being one of the biggest drains on productivity in modern, open offices. So are there are ways of reducing office noise within the given environment that you have, whilst operating within a budget?

Development of acoustic architecture in the modern day office

Office Furniture: Particularly useful in an open plan environment, modular, acoustic sofas with integrated technology create areas that are social and community orientated, whilst also being conducive to the working environment. By using a high backed sofa, workers can find themselves an oasis in the noise, a secluded place, unable to be heard or seen from the outside. The acoustic qualities of these office sofas work to create a peaceful work environment for employees and, by pushing two high-backed sofas together, a ‘room-within-a-room’ effect can be achieved.

Office Walls: Wall panelling, or partitions, can provide comprehensive acoustic systems for reducing the breakout of sound within open plan offices. Sound-absorbing wall panels. are designed specifically to reduce echo and reverberation. Acoustic wall panels can also be used as decorative wall features in offices, can be custom printed to match your company branding and are available in a range of colours and designs.

Office Flooring: Hard surfaces do not absorb sound, they carry and amplify it. Concrete, natural wood, porcelain and ceramic floors will all amplify the noise so utilising some form of floor covering will help to dampen down the noise. Carpet is an ideal flooring solution for noise reduction, but vinyl flooring also offers a versatile alternative thanks to its ease of maintenance and variety of design options.

Office Ceilings: Acoustic partitioning is not always the right solution for your office as it can undermine your modern open-plan office interior and can be expensive. Your solution here could be adding sound absorption to your ceiling. Suspended acoustic ceilings are an effective way to increase absorption and can be strategically placed to hide exposed soffits and other highly reverberant surfaces.

Office Accessories: Far from just being an afterthought to make the place look "loved", plants help to reduce office noise. In addition to improving air quality and adding natural elements to sterile environments, indoor plants can also reduce office noise. Stems, leaves and branches all absorb sound. They are also flexible and can deflect and refract sound.

These are just some of the solutions to reducing the noise within your office environment. Your work space is an individual as your company is so if you would like a more personalised solution to reducing your office noise please get in touch with us here at 20six.