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Top Ten Ways to Reduce Noise in Open Plan Offices

Top Ten Ways to Reduce Noise in Open Plan Offices

Some people thrive in a noisy environment. They love the banter of being in a loud, busy and chatty office space often sharing their own work ideas and really getting the most out of other people’s opinions. However, other people find noise a constant distraction. Ringing telephones, noisy printers, busy photocopiers and meetings that encroach personal space.

The trouble is, most of the offices nowadays are based on the open plan approach and this is because of many reasons. Not to mention that it is genuinely very cost-effective. Open plan offices are good for grouping different teams together and encourage interaction. Some people find that closed doors to single offices are daunting and prefer to work in an office where everyone is sits together.

Of course, working in an open plan office is conducive to noise. There’s just no way an open plan office can be silent but what happens when the noise level goes over and above what’s acceptable? Unfortunately, it hinders concentration and ultimately, that prevents work-flow so can really alter productivity levels.

Here are ten ways to reduce noise in open plan offices:

By putting in a few easy wins, you can reduce the level of noise in your office to something very manageable. In doing so, people will find they can focus on their tasks without constant interruption and your output will improve. You also can’t tell people to be quiet, it’s not natural to work in a silent environment and makes people feel unhappy, so how can you reduce noise pollution in your place of work without banning your team from talking or making phone calls?

Step 1:

Call in the experts. At Peak Acoustics, our job is to get the best out of building acoustics, that means encourage quality sound while reducing unwanted, obstructive sound. It’s always a good idea to call in experts, especially if you’re about to refit an open plan office. By getting some good advice from Peak Acoustics, you’ll go a long way to improving the noise level in your office which can definitely boost your turnover as people find they work harder and better without distraction!

Step 2

Install double glazing if you don’t have it already. Outside noise that is audible inside a building does distract. The hum of traffic, the noise of a person shouting, the sound of a police car or a train rumbling across the tracks. All of these exterior factors are annoying when your employees are trying hard to concentrate on their jobs.

Step 3

Arrange your work space to accommodate your teams effectively. For example, the marketing department will no doubt be louder than your accounts team! Keep these teams very separate so that one doesn’t bother the other. Accounting work needs to be very focused work as it’s with numbers whereas marketing usually involves lots of brainstorming and idea-swapping.

Step 4

Enforce a meeting room rule. No meetings should be held in an open plan office as these distract those teams not involved. Make sure you have enough closed off areas to hold meetings and get a booking system into place. The other thing you can do is get some meeting pods installed in your office. These are transparent, small pods that hold a few people and area ideal solutions for creating meeting areas.

Step 5

Create quiet working areas that are especially for people who need to work on something in silence. Rather like a library, enforce a no-talking rule and have a few desks set up with wiring for laptops etc. This way, if one of your workforce has an important deadline to adhere to, they can get on with it in peace.

Step 6

Get room dividers installed. Peak Acoustics can advise on different types of materials to minimise noise and they are a great way of splitting up teams. Certain materials absorb noise better than others and there are different height screens so you can completely screen off an area if you prefer. Not only do they look attractive, they’re functional too.

Step 7

Discourage your workers to eat lunch at their desk. It’s natural to want to chat when taking a break but if others are working, it can be very distracting. Have a designated café or eating area especially for the lunch-time rush.

Step 8

Introduce greenery to your office. Not only are plants attractive and good Feng Shui, they also absorb sounds and deflect them so they’re good for lots of different reasons!

Step 9

Make sure you have a soft floor surface. Wood or concrete in an office is an absolute no-no as noise bounces on these surfaces, making office space louder than ever! Use carpet, carpet tiles or if you can’t change what you’ve got, get some rugs but make sure they have rubber backing so they don’t slip and cause a health hazard.

Step 10

Move all machinery into one place, preferably behind closed doors. This includes printers, photocopiers, fax machines (if you still use them). The noise from these machines is very loud and putting them somewhere out of the office will reduce that constant hum that they make when in use. Don’t forget, in offices, they are in use almost all day, every day!

For more information on reducing noise in open plan offices and sound testing, call Peak Acoustics LTD on 0330 043 1764 to book your free noise reduction consultation.

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