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54% OF UK OFFICE WORKERS REPORT THAT NOISE IS AN ISSUE AT WORK
We have created our own sound masking solution to protect privacy and improve workplace wellbeing. Unlike many other direct field systems, this unique solution offers an innovative, all-round immersive sound dispersion, ensuring the same sound quality for all listening positions.
What is Sound Masking?
Did you know noise has a direct impact on a person’s ability to complete a task in a timely and productive manner? It also has a negative impact on a person’s workplace wellbeing and stress levels.
Sound masking makes a building appear quieter by raising the ambient noise level in an office environment.
It is an effective method that, when installed correctly, has the potential to bolster acoustical privacy and reduce distracting noises, which in turn helps to improve the overall office comfort.
By creating ambient background noise, our systems are engineered to match the frequency of the human voice for greater speech privacy. Adding noise to a space may sound counter-intuitive, but our solution reduces the intelligibility of human speech. When you can’t understand what someone is saying, it becomes less distracting and you probably don’t notice them at all.
Sound masking helps to create a balanced, comfortable acoustic working environment.
According to our Noise and Wellbeing at Work survey, sudden bursts of noise are the most irritating in the workplace, with the most annoying being:
360° IMMERSIVE SOUND DISPERSION
Due to its 360° driver technology, the installation needs fewer speakers to work effectively compared to conventional systems.
This new solution has the ability to increase the privacy around the areas treated. Not only is the installation of this technology ideal to increase privacy in businesses, but it can also help to increase performance levels, eliminate distractions, and enhance the overall wellbeing of employees.
Sound masking helps to create a balanced, comfortable acoustic working environment.
Read Our Blog: Five things you need to know about sound masking
Sound Masking and Privacy
In our ‘Noise and Wellbeing at Work’ survey, we found that 72% of UK office workers are working either in an open plan or shared office, a system which was initially designed to encourage communication and collaboration between employees. Yet, with this design comes an increase in annoying and distracting workplace sounds.
In the same survey it was found that 51% of people have overheard a confidential topic being discussed outside of work, in GP surgeries, hospitals and legal firms and 71% say that their offices would benefit from a private place for discussions.
Installing masking systems in a modern open-plan environment is known to diffuse office distractions like echoes and reduce the intelligibility of human speech whilst also facilitating greater speech privacy.
- 70% have overheard a colleague being upset or distressed.
- Over 50% of employee’s state that they are reluctant to speak about a confidential, business-sensitive or personal issue at work, for fear of being overheard
- 41% feeling anxious about being overheard
- 45% reporting they feel anxious about hearing something they shouldn’t.
SOUND MASKING AND WELLBEING
A noisy workplace can be more than just an annoyance.
Exposure to excessive noise levels stimulates our nervous system – raising blood pressure and releasing stress hormones. In our ‘Noise and Wellbeing at work’ survey it shows that 58% of UK workers say that noise has a high impact on their stress levels in the workplace and 44% said that noise had a negative impact on their overall wellbeing.
Our bespoke systems creates a particularly harmonious natural sound that blends seamlessly into the working environment allowing for fewer disturbances and enhances employee’s wellbeing.
The system can also be intertwined with natural sounds including, bird song, water flowing and the ocean, creating a completely immersive environment for employees to relax and collaborate naturally.
80% report a good working environment would affect their decision to stay with a company.
SOUND MASKING AND PRODUCTIVITY
61% of UK Office Workers say that they are interrupted by noise at least five to ten times a day. The interviewees then went onto report that it takes an average of eleven minutes to get back into a task after being distracted by noise, which means between 55 minutes and 110 minutes of a day are wasted just from noise distractions.
Over half of UK offices workers say that their workplace does not encourage productivity with sixty-five percent stating that their workplace impacts on their motivation to work.
For productivity levels in the workplace to increase we seriously need to think about the working environment and what employers can do to ensure that their employees are at their most productive.
Our systems are designed to deliver an unobtrusive background noise which imitate airflow, masking background noises in the office environment and thereby reducing distractions and increasing productivity.
Sound Masking for Open Plan Offices
The open-plan office was originally designed to promote collaboration between co-workers, their ability to support the ease of communication among employees should encourage teams to work effectively together. There have been however, multiple complaints on the open plan office and the poor acoustics that lead to lack of privacy and reduction in wellbeing.
Acoustics conditions in the workplace have been noted as a leading source of dissatisfaction when compared to other elements that contribute to overall office comfort such as office layout, furnishing, thermal comfort, lighting and general cleanliness.
As well as privacy distraction due to noise is also an issue, 61% of UK Office Workers say that they are interrupted by noise at least five to ten times a day. The interviewees then went onto report that it takes an average of eleven minutes to get back into a task after being distracted by noise, which means between 55 minutes and 110 minutes of a day are wasted just from noise distractions.
Sound Masking can reduce noise distractions within the workplace by raising the ambient acoustic level of the workplace. The solution can also be divided into zones within the open plan office, for example, if the sales team is directly next to the accounts team, their areas can be split into two zones and the sound masking within the accounts team zone, that needs most confidentiality, can be turned up to provide more privacy within the zone.
Our bespoke sound masking for offices will improve confidentiality, improve concentration and lead to increased productivity as less time is lost overhearing casual conversation or intrusive noises.
Sound Masking for Meeting Rooms
Remark Group’s omni-directional sound dispersion sound masking technology adds a low-level background sound inside and outside of the meeting room. The background sound is optimised to mask human speech which increases the privacy in and around the meeting rooms tenfold.
Sixty-four percent of UK office workers have overheard a confidential or sensitive conversation in the workplace that they should have, because of this almost half of office workers are reluctant to discuss a private or sensitive issue in the workplace.
In today’s modern office the lack of privacy is a real problem, particularly in between meeting rooms. The utilisation of glass partitions and large folding doors in between meeting rooms means that noise seeps through to the adjacent room and surrounding areas. Acoustics and privacy are often overlooked during the design.
Remark group can provide bespoke masking for meeting rooms that allow businesses to achieve 100% privacy – without sacrificing the design of the toom. We can ensure that conversations remain private.
Sound Masking for Healthcare, GP Surgeries and Waiting Rooms
It’s not just the office that suffers from a lack of privacy, 51% of people have overheard a confidential topic being discussed outside of work, in GP surgeries, hospitals and waiting rooms. Privacy is a fundamental human right, yet in places where you think you would receive the highest amount of privacy like GP Surgeries, waiting rooms and healthcare facilities, there seems to be a lack of it.
While healthcare environments continue to improve, striving to provide better patient outcomes and experiences, many hospital environments remain extremely noisy, disrupting patients and causing privacy concerns
Remark Group can provide solutions for the healthcare industry that not only increase the privacy around GP rooms and waiting rooms, but sound masking can also be utilised in patient rooms and healthcare facilities to promote rest and relaxation.
Sound masking provides an ambient background noise level that reduces background noise and conversations, meaning patient privacy is restored and their overall comfort in places that could cause stress are reduced.
OUR CASE STUDIES
Installation of Sound Masking to restore privacy
Client What is Sound Masking? The sound masking system operates to reduce both general office sounds and conversational distractions to increaseperformance levels. Consisting of a series of emitterspositioned in the ceilings in and around meeting rooms, open plan offices and shared working spaces. Planning the …
Installation of Sound Masking to improve customer confidentiality
Who was the client? Greenwoods Solicitors What were the clients needs and issues? With the new installation of floor-to-ceiling glass walls to the suite of meeting rooms it was soon realised that sound privacy had been lost. With client confidentiality potentially at risk, Greenwoods wanted a solution to rectify this concern. Various physical sound-proofing options …
Frequently Asked Questions
How does sound masking work?
It works by adding a subtle background noise into the workspace which helps to both mask any distracting sounds and improve speech privacy.
What does sound masking sound like?
Sound masking releases a gentle noise that has been likened air flow, with the ability to mask speech and incidental noises, although not eradicating them completely.
Sound masking can also be intertwined with natural sounds including; bird song, water flowing and the gentle sounds of the ocean, creating a completely immersive environment for your employees to relax and collaborate naturally.
How much does sound masking cost?
Sound masking is a cost-effective acoustic solution, that when compared with sound proofing is considerably cheaper. A small office area can expect to spend upwards of £1,500 for a complete solution.
How does sound masking compare to sound proofing?
Sound proofing does not block sound completely and can be an unreliable and costly method, not only is sound masking considerably cheaper but you have the ability to adjust privacy levels to suit the treated space. Sound proofing by comparison may help to reduce overall noise levels, but that can have the undesirable effect of increasing the levels of distraction caused by office noise. Sound proofing is also massively disruptive to install when compared to sound masking.
Can I control the sound masking system?
The simple answer is, yes. Our sound masking systems comes with the ability to adjust the volume levels accordingly to suit the ambient noise levels. If your space is set out into zones, you can also adjust the levels for each zone.
Is sound masking just white noise?
Sound masking is a more sophisticated solution than white noise. Sound masking is designed to target the same frequencies as the human voice, having the ability to ‘mask’ it.
Is sound masking just suitable for office spaces?
No, sound masking can improve acoustical comfort and increase speech privacy in almost every industry and workplace. We have an eclectic range of solutions available that can be integrated into almost any architectural concept. Sound masking can benefit:
- Open plan offices
- Private offices
- Huddle spaces and meeting rooms
- Patient rooms and GP offices
- Recovery rooms in hospitals
- HR areas
Will the sound masking be heard over the phone or video conferencing system?
No. All modern telephones and conferencing equipment come equipped with DSP technology which will easily filter out the sound masking.
Are there any ongoing costs after the initial deployment period?
No. Once installed and commissioned the system can be expected to operate without any maintenance or servicing for many years.
Can I easily expand the system to other areas of the workplace if required?
Yes. Our systems are designed to allow further expansion of the sound masking into nearby offices without the need for a completely new installation.