Finding Quiet in a Noisy Office

3 simple ways to combat a noisy office

Rachel in accounting has a new grandson. You know because you’ve overheard her telling coworkers about him all day. You also know the guy two desks down has an incessant (and somewhat alarming) cough. And Jennifer is on her phone arguing with her sister. Again.

If you work in an office with an open floorplan, this may sound familiar.

Don’t get us wrong: Open floorplans have their advantages, such as encouraging collaboration and facilitating communication. But for many workers, that collaboration and communication come with a hefty dose of distraction.

A full 70% of U.S. workplaces have an open floorplan. Yet a 2014 study conducted by Steelcase found that 49% of workers report not being able to concentrate. The study also found that the average office worker loses 86 minutes a day due to workplace distractions. That means your company – and your employees – lose employee productivity, job satisfaction and morale.

So how do you achieve both collaboration and concentration in a noisy office? The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice one to get the other. Here are three simple tips for reducing noise in your workplace.

  1. Move noisy office equipment. Locate your noise-making machinery, such as printers, copiers and fax machines, away from employee workspaces. If you have the square footage, designate a separate room for noisy equipment.
  1. Absorb the sound. In the “olden days,” companies worried about noise control mounted fabric-covered fiberglass panels on the walls to mute excess sound. These days, there are more attractive sound-dampening accessories – from furniture and room dividers to ceiling, floor and wall treatments.
  1. Go green. By nature of their sound-absorbing bark and leaves, plants can be an effective way to reduce unwanted sound in open-office settings by soaking up reverberations. And plants pack a one-two punch by improving your office air quality at the same time.

Whether you design your office with noise reduction in mind or retrofit your space with acoustical materials and products, there are ways to minimize noise and maximize productivity at every budget level. Employee productivity is one of the most important ways to measure the effectiveness of your office space.

Want more ideas for sprucing up your office space place? Contact Susan Touhey at The Anderson Group for tips and tools to improve your office space design, productivity and efficiency. Call 518-458-7726 or email stouhey@andersonoffices.com.

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