Most companies in expensive real estate markets are finding ways to do more with less space. This includes partitionless offices which have become very common.
An open office sounds like a good way for employees to share workspace without adding cubicles or walls. But if you work in an open office, you probably know that the reality falls short of the utopia everyone had hoped for.
One thing employers often overlook is the noise that these office plans create. The combination of people talking, using office machinery, making phone calls, singing, playing music, and walking around adds up to a lot of distraction.
Employees who need to focus on their work find it very challenging to get anything done. If you need to turn your open office space into a quieter, more peaceful place to work, the following products can help.
1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Traditional headphones are designed to deliver quality sound when you listen to music. Noise-canceling headphones also work to cancel out background noise. The result is that you can hear music clearly without turning up the volume. The same is true for listening to important information during phone calls or virtual meetings.
Choose from top brands like Bose or Sony and consider their power supply. Some use replaceable batteries, others can be charged like your cell phone, and some operate by plugging into a USB port on your computer.
The latter might be okay if you spend most of your time at your desk. If you work at a variety of locations, a body-operated model is your best bet.
2. Specially Designed Ear Chairs
Ear chairs have special panels that go beside your ears to block out noise. It might not be the best choice for employees “on the move” but this type of chair does work well in areas like conference rooms or anyplace you need to have regular meetings or chats.
Ear chairs add an interesting, modern look to any office while serving an important function. Several companies offer them, sometimes selling them in groups of two or four.
Ear chairs work best when placed facing one another to keep the background noise out. The original Ear Chair by Studio Makkink & Bey comes in some interesting designs and works well in several configurations.
3. Introduce White Noise
Many people turn to white noise machines to help block out noise and get a better night’s sleep. But increasingly, offices are turning to the gadgets to help them mask annoying sounds that interfere with employees’ ability to focus. The more we learn about the negative effects that an open office has on productivity, the more companies there are designing white noise systems for office use.
White noise doesn’t have lyrics or notes that you have to adjust to. Also unlike music, you never have to worry about all your staff agreeing on what genre to play. It doesn’t redirect your attention away from other noises and cause a different type of distraction.
Instead, it masks noises so you can focus on your work without letting your mind drift in a different direction.
Some white noise systems are wall-mounted so the sounds are distributed throughout large, open spaces. Another option is to purchase a desktop system that allows you to put an individual unit on every desk. QT Controller systems let you create a variety of zones that work in open offices, enclosed offices, common areas, and conference rooms.
Create the right amount of noise control according to the area and create a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere in every area of your office.
4. Add Quiet Flooring
Tile or wood floors magnify every sound, from the dropping of a stapler to the click-clack of your high heels. Once you remove the sound of talking, the majority of noise in your office probably comes from chairs and other items coming into contact with the floor.
Flooring, such as carpeting or vinyl, helps make a room quieter. When you add a soundproofing underlay, it greatly reduces the noise in the room.
If you don’t want to add the expense of re-flooring the entire office space, look at using rugs and underlays in busy walkways and individual workspaces.
Check out Soundproof Cow’s flooring underlayments to improve sound quality and even add a layer of insulation for greater comfort!
5. Add Office Phone Booths
Our office booths accommodate 1-6 employees at a time, depending on what size model you choose. Thick, 3.5” acoustic walls keep your conversations inside and private while also keeping background noise out.
Our Executive Room is the perfect solution for meetings, collaborative work, and other group work that requires a quiet place to focus. Some features include a low ½” door threshold for easy accessibility and self-closing aluminum door with an accessible handle.
The roomy booth with a tempered glass door gives it an open feel without letting the noise of the office inside.
The Executive Booth XL is ideal for conducting one-on-one meetings and reviews, or for enjoying a little more private space where you can work on important projects. Features like a 31” wide work surface and twin, high-powered ventilation fans will make it the favorite spot in the office for all of your employees.
The Comfort Booth is a free-standing office privacy booth for individuals who need privacy while making phone calls or completing high focus tasks. Echo absorbing perforated aluminum panels help block sound and create a quiet zone within any open office environment.
The more we learn about the impact of noise in open office spaces, the more products there are to help employers provide the quiet areas their company needs.
To learn more about our office phone booths, contact us today.