When designing and organizing an office, it’s incredibly important that you think about the noise that will be in the office regularly. Regardless if your staff is merely entering data or doing creative work and making phone calls, noise will drastically reduce their productivity, which is something that you should definitely not allow. Fortunately, there’s so much you can do on this front and here are the five most popular and the most cost-effective noise-reduction ideas out there.
Have a Candid Talk with Your Staff
The first thing you need to do is assume that the noise in the office comes from the chitchat. Most of the time, this will hold true. To avoid this, you need to have a candid talk with your staff and explain how they can avoid this. First of all, you need to provide them with a collaboration platform that will help them avoid having to walk around the office to ask their coworker a simple yes-no question. This will also make data sharing much easier, which will eliminate the traffic where your employee has to walk across the room with a USB drive just to give to another employee in the same room. Coincidentally, inter-office traffic is included in our next topic.
Laying Some Carpets
The next thing you need to do is assume that people around the office are following the rules and are not deliberately making the place noisier than it has to be. In that scenario, in order to reduce the noise in the office, you need to find those noises that happen passively and involuntarily. As it happens, foot traffic is one of such noises. Fortunately, it’s the one that’s easier to fight against, seeing as how all you have to do is cover the floor with some rugs. Aside from making the place less noisy, these rugs also keep the office temperature slightly higher.
While the previous two tips may help out with the general noise level in the office, you need to understand that there’s more than you can do, on the level of individual employee in order to improve the situation. One thing you can do is invest in silent peripherals. Silent keyboards and silent mice will drastically reduce the level of the so-called passive noise, which we’ve previously discussed. Aside from this, you can also get each of your employees a set of noise-canceling headphones and provide them with their own personal peace and quiet. The only downside of this is the cost of such an endeavor. The initial investment would be substantial and peripherals are known to regularly break, even with careful use.
Fight the Outside Noises
In the previous three sections, we talked about your chance of reducing noise within the office. However, what if it’s the outside noise source that you’re struggling with? Noise is noise and its nature and level are what determines how distracting it is, not its source. Moreover, the fact that the source is outside of your reach may make it all even more infuriating. Fortunately, there are some noise reduction tips that can still be implemented.
The Layout of the Office
Lastly, the layout of the office is one of the most important factors in the overall noise level. While some believe that this is something that you get with the office, they often omit the fact that there’s so much that you can do later on. The outdated and abandoned cubicle system, for instance, was a lot less noisy, even if it did have other shortcomings. On the other hand, by carefully positioning shelves and even using office dividers, you can significantly alter the layout of the place, without actually sacrificing any of the productivity.
At the very end, you need to understand that some areas and some office layouts are quieter than others. The reason why we haven’t discussed this earlier is due to the fact that the topic is how to make your office quieter, not how to pick a quieter office. On the other hand, when you eventually decide to relocate, you can use all the knowledge that you’ve gathered so far in order to pick a space and location that will give you an edge.