What is Noise?
Noise is defined as a sound that is loud or unpleasant that causes disturbance. Noise in the office can come from a variety of sources such as internal factors (printers, telephones, people and back ground noises from air conditioners and lifts) and external factors (street traffic & general industry noise).
Importance of Noise Control in the Office
Generally, the levels of noise in office areas are below those levels known to pose a risk to hearing. In offices, ‘annoyance’ noise is more likely and may interfere with communication, annoy and affect your employee’s performance of tasks like reading and writing.
This can be costly for your company. Noise that prevents an employee from understanding an instruction or warning signal may also be a risk to safety.
For these reasons, it’s important to consider what you can do to control unwanted, annoying noise in your office.
If you want to identify disturbing noise sources in your office, it’s best to ask employees working in the area a series of questions, for example could include:
- What noise is most disturbing (if any)?
- When does it occur?
- What effect does it have on the way you work?
- How do you currently deal with disturbing noise?
You can do this using a general walk-through survey that includes interviewing employees.
Changes You Can Make to Control Noise in the Office
If you have identified noise in the office then the next step is to control it. There are several things you can do.
- Re configure your office space so you can separate the areas that are causing the noise such as separate printer or photocopier areas – these are known as Utility Rooms. There are several companies that offer free office space planning layout services you can take advantage of.
- Use sound absorbent products such as Acotile wall coverings, noise reducing ceiling tiles and sound absorbent carpet tiles. Also create barriers using office storage though take into account how this will impact on air flow & ventilation.
- Use sound absorbing screens & partitions to divide open plan workstations and to create walkways. Studies have found that screens need to be over 1500mm to have any significant effect on the travel of sound between workstations. Keep in mind though that you may reduce collaboration if the screens & partitions don’t allow for easy communication between staff.
- Creative use of furnishings can help with acoustics.
- By adding a continuous, low-level ambient sound to an environment (such as white noise, which sounds similar to the sound of airflow), sound masking can help make conversations for listeners that aren’t intended to hear them unintelligible, and therefore much easier to ignore.
Want a free office layout then contacts by email [email protected] or call one of our consultants on +61 8 9359 1288.