How To Manage Noise Pollution In The Office
It turns out that AC/DC was wrong. Rock and Roll IS noise pollution especially if it’s played in the office. Irritating noises can come from all kinds of sources: a jackhammer, air conditioning, obnoxious ringtones, traffic, nearby construction and other people’s voices. All natural and unnatural noises can interrupt an otherwise calm moment. And it just isn’t annoying; it’s actually a recognized health issue. Noise pollution causes stress; sleep disorders, cardiovascular disease, impaired cognition and increases blood pressure. It makes employees less productive and negatively impacts the way we interact with others.
Inspired by the open office design of companies like Google and Facebook where workers exist in an collaborative area without any walls. They can easily hold impromptu meetings, have team conversations and make phone calls right out in the middle of everything. While this design works to connect employees it also creates a noise issue prompting many designers to provide options for a quieter working environment.
Dedicated quiet spaces. Businesses can use empty office cubicles or even provide office pods that employees can go to when trying to focus on an important task or project. These spaces are designated for non-group work and can help provide a place for workers to be more productive than at a shared office desk or open office environment.
Sound absorbing office furniture. Strategically placed office cubicles that are fabric covered with acoustic batting inside the panel will help reduce sound transmission and reverberation. Carpet flooring and acoustical ceiling tiles will also help to absorb sound.
Installing sound masking (white noise). Sound masking is used to replenish the background sound level of an office space and maintain it at an appropriate volume. This technology consists of a series of speakers, which are installed in a grid-like pattern in or above the ceiling. It simply keeps the background elements of sound at a constant, almost ignorable level so that employees can concentrate on their work at hand and not spend time trying to get back on task after a disruption.
Noise pollution doesn’t only have health impacts in the office; this diagram from Biamp Systems shows that it also has a negative effect on the classroom and hospitals as well.
As you can see, the effect of noise pollution on our daily lives is far-reaching. An intelligent, research-driven approach to office design, limiting the flow of sound between various spaces, can help. At ROSI Office Systems, we understand office space. We provide answers to complex workplace challenges such as ergonomics, technology, generational differences and noise pollution. Contact us today for a free consultation.