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10 easy ways to improve acoustics in the office

10 easy ways to improve acoustics in the office
Article

Tired of being distracted by background noise at work? Fortunately, there are a variety of simple solutions to the problem, from soft surfaces and the right furniture to low-level white noise.

 

Bad acoustics are one of the most common problems in the workplace. Small disturbances are enough to affect your concentration and increase stress levels. But it shouldn’t be too quiet either. If there is no background noise, voices will seem too loud and people may be too self-conscious to chat among themselves or take phone calls for fear of disturbing their co-workers. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to hear your colleagues talk, but not make out what they say. Here are 10 simple and cost-effective tips on how to improve acoustics in your office.

 

1. Textiles in all forms help to prevent noise reverberations and echoes. Furnishing your office with stylish curtains, carpets and wall hangings is a good way to create a comfortable sound level. In a very noisy office, specially designed acoustic panels will be the most effective way to trap sound waves and stop the noise levels building up too high.

 

2. Plenty of upholstered furniture, such as sofas and breakout chairs, is a good alternative if the room has hard floors and few soft furnishings.

 

3. Open bookcases filled with books help to muffle sounds.

 

4. Plants are natural sound absorbers that also purify the air and make the workplace more pleasant. Smart office planters make it simple to add real or artificial plants into your workspace.

 

5. Set your phone and computer to silent so you and your colleagues are not interrupted by distracting noises such as text messages or push notifications.

 

6. Soft furniture feet reduce scrapping noises from chair legs and also help the chairs slide more easier on hard floors.

 

7. A desk mat reduces sound reverberations from the desktop and gives a softer work surface that is comfortable for your arms.

 

 

8. A desk screen with sound-absorbing properties makes a big difference to the soundscape. It blocks off some of the noise from your colleagues working nearby and creates a more secluded and private work area.

 

9. Notice boards may be becoming less prominent in many workplaces, but they serve an important purpose. Not only can you use them to share information and events, but the surface also works as an acoustic damper, absorbing the sound reverberations that would bounce off the wall if they hit a hard surface instead. For businesses with a limited budget, notice boards are a cost-effective alternative to acoustic panels.

 

10. Instead of adding to the overall noise levels, low-level white noise can mask more irritating and disturbing sounds, providing a comfortable background hum that prevents the office from being too quiet but also muffles noise from phone calls, conversations, etc. Recorded background noises, such as bird chirps, wind chimes or rain, can have a positive and relaxing effect on the office environment.

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