Reducing Noise in the Office

It is possible to make offices more quiet if you change a few things

Avoiding excess noise in the workplace is a challenge these days especially with the omnipresence of open plan offices, shared work spaces, more technology and ever-larger workforces. However, there are many options available to keep offices quieter.

1. Flooring

Not much attention is paid to noise pollution when companies choose their flooring. Wood and ceramic surfaces can be a menace at work in terms of how they allow sounds to carry. Alternatives obviously include carpets but this isn’t a common choice for offices. Vinyl floors include sound absorption properties and many top brands include underlays of acoustic material to further reduce sound.

Dealing with Office Noise - Carpets
Dealing with Office Noise - Acoustic Panels

2. Acoustic Wall Panels

Acoustic panels are a popular choice and more aesthetically attractive panels are easier to find nowadays. Many of these panels use wool as their insulating material and acoustic panels can provide warmth as well as noise absorption.

Dealing with Office Noise - Quiet Spaces

3. Quiet Spaces

The use of quiet places like privacy booths (see ‘Sound-proof Booths’ article) has exploded in recent years thanks to shared workplaces like WeWork. These booths are ideal for phone calls, small meetings or the need to escape from the noise for a short time. Similarly, enclosed conference and meeting rooms will allow employees some respite from unwanted sounds.

Dealing with Office Noise - Greenery and Plants

4. Greenery

In an open office, plants can enhance the physical appearance, increase air quality and reduce noise. The larger the plant, the better. Plant walls are increasingly used for their beauty as well as their noise reduction properties.

Dealing with Office Noise - Background Noise and Music

5. Background Noise

Light music and white noise can be played in offices to reduce other noises. Popular choices of background noise include rainforests, rainfall and the sea. A problem with light music and ambient noise is that it may not be to the taste of all employees.

Dealing with Office Noise - how to reduce noise in the workplace

6. Partitions

This might be considered as fighting back against the march of open plan offices but cubicles and wall partitions will certainly help reduce noise. Today, there are countless more attractive partitions available compared with the dour ones of the past.

Dealing with Office Noise - how to reduce noise in the workplace