Office Acoustics: How to Reduce Workplace Noise

Open-plan offices are the perfect collaborative spaces. But the fact that they can expose employees to noise can affect overall productivity. Ideally, what your employees hear can affect their mood, stress levels, and focus. In fact, noisy open-plan offices can reduce employee productivity by 66%, according to Tech Radar.

Besides making the workplace uncomfortable to work in, noisy office spaces can threaten privacy. Worst of all, they can make your office appear less professional, especially if you frequently host clients. As long as you keep the noise levels to the minimum, you can enjoy the benefits of open-plan offices without the downside of working in a noisy environment. 

One of the best ways to make your open office more conducive for collaboration is by using soundproofing methods throughout your office design. Here are four interior design tips to ensure you maintain noise levels to the minimum:

Install the Right Flooring

If your workplace covers a couple of floors, noise can be a challenge. This can arise from employees dragging desks on the upper floor or merely walking around. You can put an end to these distractions by either making changes to the floors or ceilings. 

For solutions that involve the ceiling, installing noise-absorbing ceilings can be ideal. There are a variety of stylish options available on the market these days such as suspended metal ceiling tiles which keep adjacent rooms significantly quieter. On the other hand, your office flooring material choice will determine how much noise the lower floors get exposed to. While concrete floors and carpets do great in reducing noise, they aren’t your only options. 

You can also rely on luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). Other than being easy to install and maintain, LVT floors tend to match the looks of hardwood or natural stones. If you already have a concrete floor, you will just need to conduct a bit of surface preparation before installing the LVT flooring.

Choose the Right Furniture

The typical modern office design leans towards a minimalist approach. Most offices have bare floors and exposed ceilings that provide a clean look but do little to absorb sound. Luckily, you can still achieve this look while using sound-absorbing furniture.

Also referred to as acoustic furniture, these pieces are feature specific fabrics and dimensions that limit the noise that spreads to the rest of the room. You can use acoustic furniture in collaborative spaces to silo conversations and promote privacy.

Soundproof Windows and Doors

Windows and doors can easily invite outside noise into your office environment. Employees can hear everything when working, from phone conversations to children playing outside. The trick is to seal any spaces between the door and the floor and repair any cracks on the windows.

You might also have to invest in soundproofing blankets and curtains. These acoustic items tend to be dense enough to absorb vibrations and sounds before reaching your employees.

Use Soundproof Paint and Tiles on the Walls

If you have thin walls and plan to renovate your office soon, you should consider using soundproof paint. Soundproof paint is designed to keep noise out of the work environment. In case your office environment needs more insulation from outside noise, consider installing soundproofing tiles on the walls. 

The tiles are made with sound-trapping material like wool. Even better, you can work with a variety of shapes and colors to come up with a visually appealing wall surface.

Give Your Workforce Some Peace and Quiet

Your workforce deserves to work in a calm environment, but toning down noise isn’t always an option, especially when your office is located in a noisy environment. The tips above can help reduce noise levels and enhance your collaborative space. Having a peaceful and quiet office environment promises productive employees and happy clients.

Annika Bansal

Annika "The Chick Geek" is the founder of Small Business Sense shares small business ideas, tips and resources for independent Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners.