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Reducing noise in your open plan office

Why is noise a problem in office environments?

The amount of noise that occurs in a typical office is unlikely to violate any workplace noise regulations, but it can be a real nuisance. Especially in modern offices where open plan layouts are all the rage.

It’s become rather fashionable for modern office spaces to be open plan. Open plan offices became popular as an idea to generate a sense of camaraderie, improve teamwork and to encourage communication of ideas between coworkers. Especially after years of employees being segregated in booths. Now, around 70% of offices are open plan, with little to no worker segregation.

However, recent research has revealed that open plan offices are actually not well suited for work productivity. Karlstad University’s Service Research Center in Sweden surveyed more than 300 office workers and found that open plan working led to a more distracted and irritated workforce.

Multiple studies have shown that too much noise in the office can severely reduce productivity and increase stress, resulting in lower job satisfaction and employee morale.

Ways to reduce noise in open plan offices

Create dedicated quiet spaces

Every employee works best in different ways. Dr Nicole Millard, an expert in data, analytics and emerging technology highlights that “the trouble with open-plan offices is they are a one-size-fits-all model which actually fits nobody.”

However, by creating dedicated quiet spaces for employees to work in you can cater to everyone’s needs. When noise becomes too much or if an employee needs silence for a specific project, they can retreat to a quiet space.

By doing this you create the best of both worlds.

Innovative office layout

The layout of your office space can help to reduce noise. Group desks close together in clusters to help compartmentalise noise, and separate groups of desks with sound-friendly furniture to help absorb noise. It’s also worth placing noisy office equipment, such as printers, as far away from employees as possible. Creating a separate space for them is even better.

Improve insulation

The most time consuming and costly of these suggestions is upgrading your insulation but it is highly effective and will produce the results you want long-term. If you’re doing an office refurbishment is makes the most sense to improve your insulation then.

Keeping disruption and noise to a minimum during office works

Of course, doing any kind of renovations can cause disruption and noise in itself. Especially as a lot of times it makes more financial sense to keep the office open whilst works are carried out. But there are ways to achieve noise reduction without causing too much more discord!

Westgate’s internal site hoarding range, Hoardfast, is the perfect solution for shielding employees from refurbishments within the office. Dust and mess can be contained within the works area whilst the rest of the office carries on as usual. Hoardfast Soundscreen is ideal for areas that require a durable, hygienic temporary screen with acoustic protection to minimise noise transfer.

The other great thing about Hoardfast is that the internal hoarding can be moved as phases of the works progress.

To learn more about how internal site hoarding can be of use during office works contact us at Westgate salesteam@westgateuk.co.uk / +44 (0) 1785 242 181 

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