All office managers obsess over improving the productivity and efficiency of their employees. They want higher morale, greater motivation, stronger production, and just generally a team of people doing excellent work and being happy while they’re at it. And indeed, things like open office plans, recreational rooms, team-building exercises, and many more things people do to improve their offices have been analysed and done ad nauseam. What people don’t really think about is office acoustics.
Namely, the acoustics of an office can greatly influence productivity. The noise itself can drive people crazy. A noisy office, with music blaring, with people arguing and talking over each other, it can destroy efficiency. Sometimes, however, such communication cannot be ignored, or it’s simply part of how your business is run. However, sound masking can help you. It can improve collaboration, boost motivation, and just strengthen people’s moods. Read on to find out how below.
What exactly is sound masking
The layman often conflates sound masking with white noise. And while that’s not completely wrong, it’s not completely right either. Sound masking is a bit more precise, it sends “unstructured” sound right through your speakers, and in turn masks any and all distracting office noise.
Namely, its purpose is to help you not hear your co-worker’s conversations, to help you focus on your own work while not being distracted by whatever people are droning about. When done properly, it should simply go unnoticed, like it’s not even there. It’s essentially an extra layer of privacy you get, privacy that you didn’t even notice you needed until recently.
Privacy and focus
People have to talk in an office. Whether it’s about the newest plan a team is working on, a phone call with an important client, or people working remotely, trying to stay in touch with the boss and local managers, it all adds up.
This has been further exacerbated by the new trend in office design that most often incorporates open areas. The age of the completely boxed off cubicle is luckily gone, but in its stead, you have areas where sound travels almost completely unobstructed. This makes it a nightmare to focus on anything of substance.
Namely, you can always close a door, you can’t really section of part of a wall that simply isn’t there. Hiring some professional office acoustics experts that know what they are doing can be greatly beneficial for a large part of your staff.
Settings things up
Now, sound masking isn’t just covering any and all kinds of sounds. It’s above all there to provide speech privacy. The core issue here, however, is that speech privacy levels are measurable, they are real factors that need to be accounted for. For this reason, installing proper equipment is vital, its need if you want things to go as planned.
A professional needs to check out your office, to see what its acoustics are like. You might need to connect it to a grid, or a drop ceiling. Furthermore, tiles, curtains, carpets, these all need to be optimized and set up in accordance with the system. For example, stone tiles and empty rooms will create an echo effect, while carpets and curtains will absorb sound.
You also need account for your office’s needs. Namely, what kinds of rooms do you need, how is your office set up? For example, maybe you want to have a complete quitter room, where people can have private phone calls, or just relax and move away from the chaos of business. Maybe you have an entire floor dedicated to nothing but people doing their work on the phone. In this instance, you need to find a way to have people speak, but not disturb each other.
Next, maybe you want a good conference room. You don’t want a trace of sound to enter this place, on account of any serious and important meeting you might have. The last thing you need is an important client or partner getting annoyed by the sounds coming outside your premises.
You simply can’t avoid noise in an office. People talk and talk and talk, they drone on and on and on. Sometimes for a good cause, sometimes not. Maybe you have an open and collaborative office. Maybe you just have rude employees. Whatever the case may be, sound masking can do wonders for people’s motivation and efficacy. A simple source of masking noise that drones out unwanted and distracting chatter can help people focus on their own tasks, while still allowing people to carry on their conversations as normal.