Noise Reduction

Noise reduction in the office - how to reduce noise

This is, unfortunately, the case - noise is a reality in many workplaces, and can be a problem. 

Noise reduction in the office - how to reduce noise

This is, unfortunately, the case - noise is a reality in many workplaces, and can be a problem. Noise is, however, perceived very differently from person to person - how the noise is experienced and how it affects the individual varies.

Nevertheless, it is important that the noise in a workplace is handled and minimised properly. This is because it helps to create a better working environment, where there is the optimal framework for carrying out one's work.

In this blog post, we take a closer look at noise reduction in the office. We come up with good ideas about reducing noise levels. Read about our ideas below:


Adapt the layout of the office to the workplace

Before you get too caught up with new, clever measures to reduce the noise in the office, there is one thing you need to look at first. That is, of course, the general layout of the office.

If you have an office with several employees in it, a lot of noise can be created quickly. You therefore need to take a closer look at how you can decorate your office most optimally. First of all, you need to take into account what kind of a job you have and what kind of tasks the employees need to perform.


A workplace with individual tasks

If you have a workplace where employees perform work that requires a lot of concentration because tasks are done individually, you must take this into account in the interior design.

You can do this by, amongst other things, creating a lot of space between the desks. That way, employees do not disturb each other nearly as easily. There will be a good distance which will help to reduce any noise and other distractions from a colleague.


A workplace with a lot of knowledge-sharing and collaboration

If you, instead, have a workplace where the tasks require that there is a lot of knowledge-sharing between employees, you will need another type of office layout altogether. In this situation, it is better to place the desks in groups.

It can be advantageous to divide the groups further into departments. That way, those who collaborate the most sit together in the same cluster. There is, therefore, no need to communicate across the room.

The bottomline is that you need to take into account the composition of your workplace in the interior design. It can make a big difference to the noise level in the office.


Removable screens and walls to reduce sounds

Thoughtful office layout is, however, not always enough to sufficiently reduce the noise in an office, and noise reduction can consist of many other solutions as well. Another solution is to use screens and walls to reduce the sound.

For example, there are a lot of different screens that can be mounted on tables. This can, for example, be a good solution if the desks face each other. They can also be great to have at the ends of the table if you have many employees sitting in a row.

You can also get ‘smart partitions’ that are easy to move around. These can be a really good solution if a group has to solve a task together, whilst there are other employees in the same room performing individual work tasks.

The partition can easily be placed in front of those collaborating on a common task. This will help to shield their noise. This way, other employees can maintain concentration and stay focused more easily, without being affected by the group’s noise.


Solutions that can improve the acoustics.

Another way to focus on noise reduction in the office is by thinking about the acoustics in the office. Poor acoustics in an office can help amplify noise. It is therefore definitely worth investing in some solutions that can help improve the acoustics of the room.

There are several different options. Amongst other things, you can get acoustic panels and boards that can be mounted on walls or on the ceiling. They can both be completely neutral or coloured and patterned, which could also help to spruce up the décor in the office. There are several different solutions to choose from.

A simple solution for noise reduction in the office can be to hang pictures on the wall. It helps to break the noise in the room so that it does not reflect and bounce off the walls. In addition to this, it is also extremely decorative. Plants can also help break up and disperse noise levels.

To improve the acoustics, it is therefore primarily a matter of adding something to the room - on the walls and/or on the ceiling - which can reduce the intensification of the noise. It is, however, a bit of a balancing act to know when you have crammed too much into the room. It is all about finding effective solutions.


Allow your employees to withdraw from the noisy environment

If there are still major noise issues in the workplace, you need to offer a Plan B to your employees. It can be great to have extra spaces where employees can sit in private to avoid noise.

It can also be a place which can provide noise reduction in the office in general. This is because it gives employees the opportunity to move somewhere else if they have to talk on the phone or chat to a colleague. Here, a telephone box for offices, or a meeting box, can be a good solution, as it gives employees a perfect quiet place to retire to. This is an extremely proactive solution that can help remove the noise from the office. 

So, all in all, there are many different solutions available when you want to prioritise noise reduction in the office.


Why does noise affect people so negatively? The scientific explanation.

When there is a lot of noise around you, it has a stressful effect upon the body. You probably know it yourself, especially from places where the acoustics are bad. You have difficulty focusing and your brain is going crazy because there are suddenly a lot of indefinable sounds you now have to deal with.


The scientific explanation is that the brain uses a lot of energy to be aware of extraneous noise. So, when the acoustics, for example, are bad, we spend a lot of energy finding out what is being said, where the noise is coming from, and ultimately whether it is something we are supposed to focus on.

It is simply the primordial human being in us who needs to account for the sounds that are around us - and so it puts the brain on a kind of invisible overtime that makes it difficult for us to concentrate on what we really need to focus on - regardless whether it is about having a conversation or taking care of our work.


Is there a lot of noise in your workplace? Noise is the invisible culprit.

If there is a lot of noise in your office, it is not without consequences - several studies indicate that noise is the invisible culprit that can result in everything from stress to diabetes. That is, of course, put a little black and white, but it is an indicator that noise in the office - to that extent - is something to be taken seriously.

5 facts about noise in the workplace

  1. Noise in the workplace is one of the biggest stressors, so if a constant loud noise level is present, it means constant disturbances. It does not have to be loud noises; even buzzing noises, conversations, or a dripping tap have a big effect on the pulse - and therefore the stress level.
  2. Noise can result in everything from strokes to diabetes, and the stress that noise triggers can be crucial to how we sleep at night - and thereby perform the next day.
  3. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between increased heart rate and background noise. Loud noise increases the heart rate - whether you are sitting completely still or not.
  4. The WHO describes noise as a direct source of cardiovascular disease, and that's just one of the reasons why even low background noise in the office is something worth responding to.
  5. If the acoustics are poor, more errors are measurably made - both due to a deterioration of internal communication as well as the fact that the brain is seriously running on overtime when noise and disturbing elements are present.

Get access to our research paper