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Today’s offices are noisy places, with employees sharing open-plan space in adjacent cubicles, computers positioned back to back, and telephones ringing on every desk top. Even low-level noise can negatively impact the workforce, creating stress and distraction from the task at hand. A quieter workplace environment can benefit employees and owners alike, and there are effective options available which are well worth exploring. From personal sound masking to design solutions such as wall coverings and raised flooring, implementing noise reduction measures can result in a more focused, productive and happier place of business.

Personal Solution: Headphones
Focusing on the task at hand can be difficult when overlapping conversations can be heard clashing with ring tones, voicemail and speaker phones, making it hard to hear yourself think. Some employees find it beneficial to wear headphones at intervals to mask frequent distractions during the workday, tuning out machines and colleagues and choosing soothing nature sounds or soft music instead.  This is a temporary solution at best, lending itself to specific work scenarios for brief periods of time, such as a focused session of computer tasks. Headphones and earplugs are less user-friendly office wide, when ringing phones must be attended and communication achieved.

Design Solutions: Walls and Ceilings
Ongoing noise pollution can impact worker motivation, efficiency and productivity. Damping sound with noise absorbing materials to cover walls and ceiling areas is an effective option to help minimize noise in your office environment. Noise damping products include acoustical wall panels and ceiling tiles available in a range of materials that can offer substantial sound absorption.

Design Solutions: Flooring
Busy call and data centers are particularly susceptible to workplace noise, housing an extensive network of computer equipment and miles of wiring and cable. Installing raised flooring provides a double benefit, in that it conceals cables and other electrical equipment while reducing clutter and dampening noise. These panels allow a building’s cooling system to circulate freely through this access flooring over the wires below, effectively keeping electrical equipment cool.

These load bearing floor panels are constructed to be readily removable to permit access to computer and telecom equipment while suppressing noise in an open-plan work environment. Reducing the level of your workplace noise from the bottom up can deliver many benefits, from improved clarity of hearing, work efficiency and morale to better overall communication.

Smart Design
Today’s businesses require an ever-increasing volume of high-tech equipment to communicate effectively, which can add to an already noise-filled workplace. Less than optimal acoustical design can impact efficiency, and persistent workplace noise has even been linked to a host of health problems. Smart design elements can help reduce workplace noise while improving productivity, which enhances the bottom line in your workplace overall.

  • Photo Credit: title=”Escape from the windowless world” by eperales, on Flickr
  • Photo Credit: title=”Cubicle Location #2×3″ by archie4oz, on Flickr
Attached Images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Helen Hoefele is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her at: @For_You_To_Know.