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What would you say is the most annoying festive noise? During the month of December your eardrums will encounter countless new noises that are only heard during the yuletide period.

If you work in an office, chances are, you spend more time sat at your desk than anywhere else. You turn up at nine and sometimes don’t leave it until way after 5pm – and that’s 5 days a week. So it’s important that your desk space works for you.

For years, people have been looking to perfect the working environment, to try and find the sweet spot between comfortable and productivity inducing. Not an easy thing to do. They look at layout, lighting, space – but how much time and thought is put into the acoustics of a space?

 

If for example, there’s a water leak in the ceiling or the walls then it’d be fixed in no time. A sound leak however, often goes ignored, with little to no thought about how it’s affecting workers. The scale to which it affects workers is hotly debated. Some can ‘zone in’ on their work and cut out the noise, whereas others find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. A number of other factors come into play when talking about distraction too.

 

Typically there are four types of noise in an office environment that pose a risk to productivity:

  • Background noise that are low frequency like HVAC systems
  • Human generated noise like conversations
  • Machine generated noise; the photocopier, the shredder, and phones
  • Impact noises such as doors opening and closing
  • Four things, we’re sure you’ll agree are fairly unavoidable in working environments.

 

So what can be done about it? What changes can you make in your office environment to ensure there’s an ‘acoustic comfort’?

 

Let’s find out.

 

Behaviour

 

Work patterns

 

You’re going to find that employees talk more at certain times of the day, and more frequently towards the end of the week. You’re also going to find that the machine generated noise is going to be louder at certain points in the day. Arming yourself with this information is invaluable when preparing to alter your office to a much more acoustic friendly environment.

 

Behavioural change

 

If you think noise is an issue in your office, then the first port of call when looking to reduce it is your staff. When you’ve assessed their work patterns and found out, at what times of the day they’re louder, you can start to work towards adjusting behaviour.

 

Protocols

 

Put protocols in place aimed at reducing distraction. Designate certain areas which are ‘no-talking’ zones and encourage conversation in more suitable locations. The appropriate use of space is vitally important.

 

Design

 

Zoning

 

Now you understand working patterns you can determine a layout strategy that’ll work best around the patterns of your employees. Place conference rooms in convenient locations so that, if there needs to be a work related discussion, it doesn’t have to happen in the middle of the office.

 

Planning

 

Careful planning is important. Consider where items like the photocopier, coffee machine, and printer will be placed. If for example, there’s a regular queue to use them, that queue will distract the workers adjacent to the machines.

 

Furniture

 

Furniture plays an important role in sound too. Ensure that workers can see their environment; they’ll be less inclined to speak loudly if others are immersed in their work. Desks should be located in a way that workers won’t be speaking directly at each other too.

 

Treatment

 

Sound masking

 

Sound masking is a wonderful option for working environments. It’s a computer generated sound which makes conversation and noise harder to hear; but the masking sound itself has no information for the human ear to pick up on. Fit to the space it’s installed in, it can make even the noisiest office a hub of concentration.

 

The pros

 

At Acoustic Interiors we specialise in creating office environments that foster productivity by manipulation office acoustics. To find out more contact us today. 

Noise pollution is a common issue. Some of us end up living on a busy street, others next to the world’s noisiest neighbour. But not many of us consider how it could be negatively affecting our health. Anything above 55 decibels is classed as noise pollution. And heavy traffic, overcrowded areas, and factories all cross that 55 decibel thresh hold.

Every business wants their office environment to encourage productivity, regardless of size. There are big changes you can make to encourage a productive environment and more subtle changes.

 

Research

  • 70% of workers say they would be more productive in a less noisy environment
  • 72% of workers are dissatisfied with their speech privacy
  • 64% of workers are interrupted more than 20 times per day

 

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Furniture Solutions

 

With your partner we also have an extensive range of acoustic furniture solutions , that will met you need for any open plan office. Please contact us for any enquiries.

 

 

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