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How to Reduce Noise in Small Office Spaces

How to reduce noise in small office? Learn what design ideas can help dampen noise in offices.

Noise can certainly be a problem in a work environment, especially if you have team members that don’t work well with chaotic noise happening all around them. 

Though some can relegate the noise to the background, others may find it distracting, which can dramatically hinder their ability to be productive. 

That means that as a business owner, you have to be proactive in reducing the office noise, so that your team can perform their best and accomplish their tasks efficiently. Excess noise can create a distracting office environment, so noise control is essential for office spaces. Here are a few ways on how to reduce noise in small office spaces.

Noise-Friendly Flooring

Some floor materials are better at reflecting and absorbing sounds than others. Floor surfaces that are made with porcelain tile, concrete, or ceramic tile can boost sound and make the noise unbearable, by creating a lot of noise pollution. 

While you can do this type of flooring with carpets to minimize their noise boosting abilities, it is not a permanent fix. If you are at the design stage of creating an office, it’s better to choose a noise-friendly floor at the start, rather than trying to create solutions that work after the floor is installed. 

Engineered hardwood and LVT flooring are some of the most popular options for background noise reduction. They are also very easy to maintain and come in a variety of design options. For an added benefit, you can add an under-layer of rubber to increase sound absorption. 

When in doubt, carpeting is also a great way to help reduce noise levels and absorb sound waves, especially plush, thick carpeting. Just keep in mind that carpeting may be less easy to maintain than other options that are available. 

Sound-Friendly Furniture 

The furniture you use in your office can have a direct effect on the acoustics of the space. Using high-backed chairs, as well as couches and single person booths can create a partition between your work areas, reducing the levels of sound transfer. 

Keep this in mind while choosing lounge chairs, wall partitions, cabinets and shelves. Similarly, the placement of your furniture items can also have an impact on the noise factor. 

For example, if you place numerous desks closer to each other, they will be better at compartmentalizing the noise. However, if those items were placed farther apart in an open space, the noise blocking factor will decrease. 

You can also opt to place more noisy machines such as your fax machines, printers, and copy machines in a separate room altogether to help contain the noise. 

Acoustic Panels

What are acoustic panels and how can they help? Acoustic wall panels are panels designed to absorb and diffuse sound in your surroundings. An acoustic panel can be both vertical and horizontal and it’s often best to use a mix of both for good sound-proofing. 

For a large open space for instance, it’s a great idea to use ceiling and ceiling suspended horizontal panels. You can incorporate them into the design aspect of your office space. 

You can also use wall mounted panels, covered with green moss and plants. This can offer a double benefit. The panels will absorb and diffuse sound, whereas the greenery will infuse a sense of calm and freshness to the room.

For smaller rooms, you can use both horizontal and vertical panels, too. However, wall-mounted ones will be most ideal, as sound waves bounce off the walls. We offer several different acoustic panel solutions, so be sure to browse and see how we might help! 

Improved Sound Insulation 

If you have a chance to design your office space from start to end, it’s a great idea to include sound insulation within your design specs. This is an extremely effective way of reducing noise pollution in the office and can work wonders whether your office is large or small. 

However, the installation of sound insulation can be expensive and time consuming, so it’s definitely something to only consider if you’re in the building stages of your office. 

Wall Partitions

Wall partitions are not only a great solution to divide an office space, but can be an excellent way of reducing sound travel and overall noise in an office space. It doesn’t have to be a completely closed-off partition or cubicle either. Even low-level wall partitions can have a significant effect on sound reduction. 

You can add in modular walls that can be moved around as needed, to open up or close up a space and create work stations. Modular walls can also be used to close off an extra noisy area. 

For example, you can create a faux room using modular walls for printing and shredding equipment. You can also create quiet spaces using modular walls to fashion private booths for when someone needs a moment of quiet to focus and regroup throughout the day. 

Sound Masking System 

Sound masking is designed to help overlap the sound frequencies of humans. It masks the noise, reducing the overall sounds in the space so that it sounds like just one sound. 

Although the concept of sound masking is similar to white noise, it’s still quite different. Where white noise combines frequencies to create something new, sound masking discards overlapping frequencies. 

Make Use of Plants

Believe it or not, plants are excellent at helping to reduce the noise levels of any space. The larger the plant, the more it will be able to block sound. Plus, the aesthetic effects of plants is undeniable. 

They bring a feeling of freshness and lightness to the room that’s soothing and calming. They also have a positive impact on sound quality. 

Live green walls have seen a huge increase in popularity in the past couple of years, due to their positive impact on air and sound pollution, as well as their beauty. 

Quiet & Loud Spaces 

Incorporate the concept of quiet and loud areas into the design of your small office space. By creating these ‘zones’ everyone will have a clear idea of what kind of noise is acceptable in which space. Your quiet spaces or zones should be made as sound-proof as possible. This can help boost productivity and employee satisfaction by a lot. 

Meanwhile, the designated loud spaces can be designed as break rooms for coworkers to hang out and relax in and talk their hearts out, if they want. 

Shift any furniture items made with glass, metals, plastic, and acrylic, to the loud spaces, as these materials don’t absorb sound waves. 

When designing your quiet spaces and selecting furniture, be sure to use lots of fabric items, like curtains, rugs, and upholstered couches and chairs, because fabric helps to absorb sound. 

High-Tech Audio Equipment 

Since COVID, many companies have gone remote, if not entirely, then for a good portion of their work week. It could be argued that more than half of the workforce works remotely, at least on alternate days. 

Some clients prefer to meet remotely via video conferences, making Zoom calls almost status quo. Whatever the reasons, the uptick in remote working means that you likely need quite a bit of audio and video conferencing equipment, which means it’s a good idea to equip your employees with noise-cancelling headphones. 

That way, they will be able to hear the sounds clearly, without disruptions due to surrounding noise. If everyone has noise-cancelling headphones, it can help significantly reduce noise disruptions. You can also bring in noise-buffering microphones to make communication easier. However, keep in mind that these are short-term solutions and you may need something better over the long haul.

Ambient Noise 

Sometimes, in your quest to conquer noise, you’ve got to fight fire with fire. Or fight noise with noise, as it were. Ambient noise, also called white noise, can be extremely helpful in canceling out surrounding noise. Though it might not make a lot of sense, somehow it works!

You can try out things like rainfall sounds, the sounds of waves crashing,  or even low-level instrumental music to create ambient noise in the background. 

These types of sounds are also known to have a calming effect on people, which means your team members will feel less anxiety and can focus better. You could even go with a simple humming sound in the background, but the key is to keep the sound subtle and gentle. 

Figuring out how to reduce noise in small office spaces can certainly be a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. There are a variety of solutions that can work very well, and when in doubt, we’re always ready to help you customize a solution for your office at Juniper Office solutions