The rise of popularity of open-plan offices dates back to the early 20th century. Such a layout is still widely used by many companies today. While this setup can have appeal for many reasons, one of the major problems with such an office is lack of privacy and distracting noise.
Without walls creating at least some type of barrier between the employees, the noise problem can increase stress and frustration while reducing productivity. How can you deal with the noise in your office without renovating it?
Invest In “Quiet” Floors
Office workers walk around the small space throughout the day. Hard flooring, like wood and tile, can create quite a lot of noise, especially when several people are walking around between workstations. You can consider investing in a carpet for noise reduction. Another good choice for noise control is vinyl flooring.
Both of the above options are less expensive than hard flooring. However, they are more susceptible to wear and tear and require more frequent maintenance and replacement.
Create A “Quiet” Room
When your employees are working in a noisy environment all day, they need to have at least some private and quiet time to focus and refresh. Today, “quiet” rooms are gaining popularity.
According to experts from isolationtech.com, a quiet room is easy to create, using the latest noise and vibration control technologies. It’s also a cheap alternative to sound-proofing the entire office or creating a private space for each employee.
Noise-canceling headphones are probably the cheapest way to battle noise in your office. Simply buying a pair for each one of your employees can be a quick solution. However, not all such headphones are created equal. You need to choose them carefully.
On the downside, employees won’t be hearing each other. This option may not work for companies that require regular staff interaction or voice communication.
Review Office Furniture
Furniture is one of the common sources of noise in the office. Creaking chairs, loud castor wheels, squeaking cabinet doors, and the like make the atmosphere in the office disturbing and distracting.
To fix the problem, you can invest in regular furniture maintenance and replacement. It’s cheaper to keep the office furniture in top shape than to create private spaces for each staff member.
You can also invest in couches and lounge chairs that create movable but functional barriers between workstations and sections of the open office.
Change The Layout
Even the open floor plan office can be planned to reduce the overall noise. For example, placing all the sound-producing equipment (printers, faxes, copy machines) in one corner while arranging desks in another can make a workspace less noisy.
You can also group the desks of employees who are always on the phone or interacting with each other in one area while placing others who engage in more quiet work at a distance.
If you aren’t dealing with an open floor plan office and you still want better noise control, you can consider wall insulation options. While they aren’t as cheap as the above methods, they can ensure higher quality sound reduction than other more temporary options.