Sound Masking Restores Privacy and Confidentiality Within an Open-Plan Working Place
Open plan offices are becoming increasingly popular in the work place due to the many benefits to both employer and employee. The design of an office can have a huge affect on the wellbeing of employees and therefore productivity levels, as Steve Jobs once said, “Ideas don’t happen in the boardroom, they happen in corridors”, collaboration and shared working come more naturally in an open, non-restrictive space.
There can however, be a downside to open plan offices, they come with the inevitability of background noise; conversations (some private and some not so) eating, laughing and paper rustling, machine use all provide an element of audible distraction.
There is a solution.
Here are the five things that you need to know about Sound Masking;
Office Privacy Has Been Restored
Have you ever over heard something you really shouldn’t have done? 53% of employees report hearing confidential conversation in the office and in many workplace environments figures suggest conversations can be heard up to 50 feet away. Sound masking’s key aim is to restore privacy back to our conversations. Perfect for confidential workplaces including, GP surgeries, law firms and legal advisors as well as open plan offices.
Bit of an obvious one, but when being told adding sound to a space makes the space appear quieter you do get some strange looks, but it is true. Adding bespoke sound reduces the audibility of conversations. When you can’t understand what someone is saying it’s easier to zone them out or in-fact not hear them at all.
Employment Productivity Is Increased
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.
If you calculate these figures together that’s a whole day gone in each week – so if we didn’t have any noise distractions we could work Monday – Thursday and still get the same amount of work done. Businesses that already own sound masking systems recorded a twenty percent increase in productivity – the future is looking bright for a Monday to Thursday week.
It’s As Easy As ABC…
Well, not quite but to our engineers it is. The sound masking system is made up of a series of discreet emitters positioned into ceilings working to reduce the clarity of conversation and decreasing the communication radius delivering a gentle background noise to ‘mask’ conversation, making speech inaudible using the ABC’s of acoustic design:
Absorb – surrounding materials such as wall panels and carpets absorb the excess sound
Block – using solid partitions and walls to block sound
Cover – providing an overlay that interrupts the sound waves created by human voices
You Can’t Hear It
One thing people immediately assume with added sound is that it will be distracting much like white noise, a popular choice in the past. White noise is known to be rather disagreeable and although it can be quite successful in eliminating noise, it can also be distracting in its own right. In contrast, sound masking has been likened to an air-conditioning unit, creating a much gentler sound and is able to conceal speech and secondary noises, but not eliminating them.
For more information on Sound Masking click here.