A noisy workplace makes you less productive and may affect your mental health. People spend most of their waking hours at the office, so enduring this negative sensation is not small. Still, is there anything you can do about it?
Keeping your office quieter is a matter of choice; however, not all methods are equal. Some methods cost more. Others require more effort on your part. Lastly, some will give you only a limited effect in your specific circumstances.
So, before you decide which method will be best for your particular case, here are some options.
Use gadgets and peripherals
You can use many devices to make your office space substantially quieter.
For starters, when buying office hardware, you can look at the specifics of a printer, but you can even buy quieter mice and keyboards. Many people find stature and mouse clicking to be unnerving. So, manufacturers have developed a methodology for making these devices completely silent.
Sure, some people just love the sound of a mechanical keyboard. However, this is:
- Their choice
- Their keyboard
They love the tactile-audio crossover of their labor, not the constant clicking noise from the next desk.
Another thing you can do is buy everyone silent headphones. This is a great way to provide everyone with their sensory chamber without spending too much money and investing too much work. Some headphones are so sound-tight that they provide complete protection from noise. Expensive as they are, it’s far cheaper than reworking the entire office space to be less noisy.
Not all noise is bad. People use white noise to help them fall asleep or provide a better ambiance for work. You can use a white noise machine for office privacy & noise canceling. You can use this device to cancel far more serious noise this way.
Add the right indoor plants
Some indoor plants have incredible sound-absorbing properties. Other than that, they’re aesthetic, handy, and amazing for the air quality in your office. Still, which plants are the best, and how do you incorporate them into the office layout?
- Baby’s Tears: This is a dense plant that hangs drapes-like leaves and branches as low as it gets. This way, it acts as a barrier and covers more reflective surfaces like walls and windows. The only thing to remember is that it thrives the best in the shade. So, pick the spot with partial shade or full shade to place it.
- Norfolk Island Pine: Ideally, you want plants that go in as many different planters as possible. Previously-mentioned baby’s tears can be placed up high and let hang. However, if you want a low pot that will sprout into a thick, vertical structure, you shouldn’t look past the Norfolk Island Pine.
- Fiddle leaf fig: If you want to rely on leaves for sound absorption (instead of the structure), you shouldn’t look further than Fiddle Leaf Fig. Contrary to Baby’s Tears, this plant craves light. Fortunately, its water cravings are not as high, so you can water it once weekly.
- Money Tree: If you want something great for desktops, you can’t go wrong with a money tree. Besides having a great office plant name, the money tree is compact and effective. While easy to underestimate, there are not a lot of indoor plants that can trap noise as effectively.
As you can see, these plants come in different shapes, forms, and sizes. Their needs are also different (shade vs. direct light), making organizing office space easier.
Pick the right furniture
Office furniture affects the acoustics of the room.
For instance, glass dividers are not the best idea. Even though they’re aesthetic, glass is a smooth surface that reflects sound waves. This means that a chance of an echo is significantly heightened.
While an open office is a modern standard, it’s not an ideal solution for noise reduction. For instance, this problem would be much easier to solve with cubicles. Still, you could do a few things to make this right.
First, you can invest in some shelves. Stacking shelves with books, folders, and even some of the plants mentioned in the previous section is a good idea. It’s aesthetic, pragmatic, and it helps keep the office quieter.
When buying seating options for the office, look for upholstery. Chairs and sofas must be upholstered in plush fabric to keep the room quieter. Textured pillows are also known to help. Sure, this is not the first thing people think of when it comes to furnishing an office, but if noise is a serious concern, it’s worth considering and addressing it all.
Soundproofing the room
When everything else fails, you can try to work directly on the room’s structure. You can add acoustic panels, soundproof the floor by adding underlay beneath it, and buy a new carpet.
Each method is effective in its own right but comes with a hefty price. It all comes down to your mindset and point of view.
Sure, it can be expensive, but it also increases the productivity of your staff, benefits everyone’s mental health, and makes the office more pleasant to be in. The last two directly affect your employee retention rate. In other words, it’s an investment that brings an incredible ROI.
The last thing you must understand is that soundproofing the office space increases its value. You can negotiate a rent deduction if you’re in a rented space. If you own the place, you can justify increasing the rent or getting more money when selling. In other words, it increases the overall value of your assets.
Making your office quieter is a direct investment in your staff members' productivity and mental health. A quieter office is more pleasant, which makes everyone slightly less anxious and argumentative.
Since the majority of work still takes place in the office (even in a hybrid model) and some people spend most of their day in the office. This is why creating a pleasant working environment is so important. It’s not just an investment in productivity; it can be a genuinely life-changing decision.