Noise in the office – and how you can deal with it

noise in the office

Already during the construction of the office, sound insulation should be used in terms of occupational health and safety. This improves the acoustics and can spare the nerves of the employees. In addition, this reduces the reverberation time, i.e. the time between the occurrence and the silencing of the acoustic signal, such as disturbing telephone calls. Read how to get rid of different types of noise here:

This noise protection can be considered directly during construction and furnishing:

  • Equip the floor, walls and ceilings as well as doors and windows with sound insulation by using noise-absorbing materials and furniture.
  • Wood and plastic have proven particularly effective in this regard, as has carpeting. Glass, ceramics and steel should be avoided as far as possible.
  • A special paint for the ceiling or wall acts as an absorber for sound and reduces office noise.
  • Place plants. These not only provide a better climate, but can also reduce stress levels.

Use partition systems and ensure quiet in the office.

Often employees complain about noisy colleagues, which is usually due to the fact that the distances are not maintained correctly. In your concept, you should keep in mind that each employee in an open-plan office of 400 square meters or more is entitled to a workstation of at least 12 to 15 square meters. Remember that a sensible seating arrangement can prevent noise in the office. Ideally, seat employees who need to confer frequently next to each other.

Mini Headphones or Ear Plugs

The days when everyone in the office listened to their own music with a mini-radio on their desk or it played in the background are over. More often, there is a kind of open-plan sound system, which, however, does not always help to calm down. Especially in offices where many people work and there is little customer traffic, one therefore notes the increased use of mini headphones.

Investing in a good pair of headphones is a good idea for several reasons: they are an easy way to block out office noise. Furthermore, thanks to modern streaming technology, there is the possibility of listening to special music that promotes concentration. Thus, you could create an individual quiet zone out of every workplace.

Since “seemingly private” music listening is not fundamentally permitted or desired in every office, you could consider using classic ear plugs (earplugs) for noise isolation. However, the question to ask here is: Do you need to be aware of the phone ringing and possible colleagues talking to you? – Isolating yourself has the advantage of allowing you to work in peace. But the disadvantage of possible social seclusion should not be underestimated.

You should always take noise seriously and take appropriate measures to reduce it. In principle, constant office noise is not good for the human body and can have a strong impact on concentration and performance. Therefore, create quiet zones, use partition walls, work with quiet equipment and show consideration for your employees. This benefits everyone and ultimately also increases motivation in everyday office life.

Plants, plants and more plants

If you don’t want to close yourself off but still want to counter ambient noise individually, you can rely on nature.

Well-placed plants have proven effective in reducing noise levels in an open office environment. The larger the plant, the greater the effect, not to mention the obvious aesthetic benefits and overall impact on air quality. However, even small plants already achieve this effect (… as long as it’s not a mini cactus).

“Small” additional tip: Deep-work staple.

The trick is small, effective and red. – We’re talking about a red clothespin, which is being misappropriated and from now on will be called “deep-work-clamp”.

Especially in office units where colleagues keep coming up to you for a quick chat, several of these conversations can reduce your work performance to zero due to constant distraction. But grumpily saying “I’m working right now!” to colleagues is hardly conducive to the working atmosphere.

The solution is an agreement among colleagues: Everyone receives a red clothespin. As soon as someone does not want to be disturbed, he or she clips it to an object of his or her choice so that it is clearly visible to everyone else: for example, to a table lamp or the laptop screen. When the colleagues see the clip, it is clear: “Please do not disturb!”

Christopher Reed
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