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Working in a noisy office can reduce productivity and negatively affect employee well-being. Here’s how office noise reduction works.
Noise can have a great toll on the well-being and productivity of office workers, whether it is caused by loud chatter of colleagues, constant notifications, or the sounds of everyday work all around the office. Employers should aim to provide their workers with a healthy and peaceful environment that fosters creativity and collaboration and does not hinder people’s ability to work. Fortunately, different office noise reduction strategies can reduce harmful background noise and other distracting sounds.
Before exploring ways to reduce noise, we first need to understand what noise is and its effects on people working in an office environment.
Although the usual concern is that the level of office noise is too high, there is such a thing as “too little office noise”.
According to a University of Arizona study, too much and too little noise in an office space can negatively affect the well-being of employees. Too much noise can make concentrating more difficult, increase stress levels, and cause headaches or other physical symptoms. Meanwhile, too little office noise can lead to boredom and decrease rather than improve productivity.
The sweet spot for office noise, the researchers say, is about 50 decibels, comparable to moderate rain or birdsong. At 50 decibels, the office noise level is not too loud to distract but still audible enough. In other words, office sound reduction should be at a level where it is still slightly audible without becoming a distraction.
The level of office noise (or any other sound for that matter) can be measured in decibels, dB in short. Prolonged exposure to loud noises without hearing protection (for example, eight hours to 90 dB or two hours to 100 dB) can damage hearing. Some examples of different noise levels measured in decibels include:
The threshold of pain is around 120-140 dB. However, how one experiences noise as painful is influenced by the frequency, duration of the noise, and individual factors, such as sensitivity to sound. A typical noise level in an office is around 60 dB, although open office noise can rise to higher levels. Therefore, office workers should not worry too much about damage to their hearing at work. Nevertheless, the effects of background noise and other distracting sounds can lead to psychological problems.
Framery O is the industry-leading office pod in noise reduction, according to research, with a speech level reduction of 30.3 dB. Thanks to their exceptional sound insulation capabilities, Framery office pods and booths can be placed where they are most used in the office, even in noisy environments where focusing would otherwise be impossible.
Successful workdays start with a good office design that promotes peace and removes distractions caused by ambient noise and other sounds that can hinder focus. Meanwhile, things like noise-cancelling headphones and white noise machines are only partial solutions for reducing distracting noise. Here are some tools for effective office noise reduction:
Different-sized Framery booths and pods allow peace and quiet even in a noisy open office. The Framery One is an office phone booth for private work, whereas larger booths, such as the Framery 2Q, have room for up to six people, not to mention remote participants in video meetings.