Maximising workplace productivity is often a matter of simply providing the right environment. This means a space that’s free from distraction, where workers can engage in deep, thoughtful work.
Naturally, this isn’t always possible for the entire office. And there’s a sense in which it might not be universally desirable. A shared space where workers can engage in small talk can be refreshing and inspiring. We’re social creatures, and we need to socialise!
By creating a divide between these two kinds of spaces, we can get the best of both worlds. High levels of focus when we need it, respite when we don’t. By renovating our premises with acoustics in mind, we can support this ideal.
Understanding the Acoustic Landscape
You might not think of an office as a particularly noisy environment, especially when compared with, say, a construction site. But the fact is that most offices provide constant noise pollution. Phones might ring, photocopiers might buzz, and doors might open and close.
All of this can provide a low-level source of stress, especially to those who are trying to focus on tasks, and being continually distracted from them. This will negatively impact employee performance – and in the long term, it might damage morale and promote absenteeism.
Designing Effective Quiet Zones
If you can minimise the transmission of noise between different parts of your office, then you can limit this problem. This is part of the reason that many are moving away from the ‘open plan’ office environment.
To minimise noise pollution, it isn’t enough to simply give everyone their own room. We should also think about how those rooms will be insulated. Installing soundproofing materials into the partition walls can be enormously effective. The right plasterboards, and just a little bit of noise-proofing material, can curb the problem dramatically.
Implementing Office Policies and Etiquette
If a lot of noise is being generated, then it won’t matter how effective your soundproofing is. It’s therefore a good idea to make everyone aware of the problem, and what they can do to battle it. Make the rules for noisiness in the office clear, and enforce them consistently.
If you go about this in the wrong way, you risk running into resistance. Instead, focus on the benefits, and ask everyone for their opinion on the problem. Make the conversation two-way. You might find that your employees are just as concerned with the problem of excess noise as you are!