Whether you work in an open space or a private office, noise can quickly become a problem. As an office manager, head of operations or CEO, your job is to ensure a productive work environment for all. As our ears get easily distracted, here are 5 easy tricks to avoid noise disruption for you and your team:
1. Noise canceling headphones
Buying a pair of noise canceling headphones for the whole office might seem like an expensive solution, but think about the long-term benefits. Noise is very much psychological, and who doesn’t like gifts? If people complain about noise or you know the sound conditions of the space are not good, showing employees you care with a high tech gift can go a long way, improving workplace culture and developing trust with your employees.
2. Organize strict silent areas
If your office is constantly noisy with people talking on the phone and to each other, you might want to rethink your noise policy. Go with the flow, let people be loud in the main area, and get soundproof panels to set a silent area apart. If your office does not allow it, then simply label one or several meeting rooms as “silent room” where people will have to behave as if they were working in a library.
3. Forget the phone booth
Phone booths are particularly popular in open spaces. But what about working booths? Nowadays, seating in a booth or meeting room to work in a silent environment has become an increasing trend. Since the office can be noisy with people coming and going, or simply talking over the phone, why not introduce a working booth?
4. Enforce silent times
Did you notice patterns in the amount of decibels during the day? Enforcing strict silent times might be a great and easy solution for your office. If you run a design firm, you can organize strict silent times between 9am and 11am, when people are usually the most productive. If you run a startup or sales team, you can allow sales calls all day long until 3pm or 4pm. People are less productive after 4pm, so allowing employees to get silent time at the end of their work day can be an amazing way to unwind, gather their thoughts and strategize for what’s next.
5. Check your windows
Let’s not forget about noise coming from the street. If your office is located in a dense urban area, or nearby a police or firefighter’ station, that can quickly become a problem. Single-glazed windows are to avoid by all means. Double or triple-glazed layers include some vacuum space in between the panes of glass, providing temperature and noise insulation. Whether you are moving to a new office or renewing a lease, talk to your building owner or property manager and make sure all of your windows are double-glazed.
Noise is always a subjective yet passionate topic. Some of us have no problem working in noisy environments, whereas if you are like me, you need absolute silence to focus on certain tasks. No matter what type you are, reducing the decibels at the workplace will likely improve employee wellbeing and increase the overall productivity of the company.