Noise distractions and a lack of privacy are some of the biggest killers of productivity. In fact, in 2013 researchers discovered that noise privacy is the number one complaint among many office workers. This can be a difficult problem to tackle. Much of the noise that occurs in an office environment is necessary — people making business calls, printing documents, typing on their keyboards. You can't simply get rid of these things. What you can do is mask these distracting sounds.
Sound masking is the process of strategically adding gentle background noise to the workplace in order to increase speech privacy and mask distracting noises.
1. How Does It Work?
Sound masking uses noise in a specific frequency spectrum to raise the noise floor of your office. This provides an even level of noise throughout the office and makes it easier for employees to tune out loud, distracting noises. It may seem counter-intuitive to eliminate noisy distractions by adding even more noise to the office, but the science behind it is well documented and it really works.
2. Can You Hear The Sound Masking Noise?
You need to be able to hear the noise for it to work, but rest assured that the spectrum of noise used is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. It works similarly to the A/C or other sources of ambient noise. After a short time, it becomes indistinguishable from the background noise of the office.
3. Does It Really Need To Be Professionally Installed?
Yes, absolutely. Using gentle white noise to mask other noises may seem like a simple concept, but the reality is a little more complex than that. The noise used must be a specific spectrum of noise. You must also place speakers in strategic locations around the office. Since every office has different sound properties which require different placements, installation requires a lot of careful consideration.
4. Are These Systems Difficult To Maintain?
Once installed, these systems are actually fairly easy to maintain — they are mostly just speakers pumping out noise, after all. The only thing you will be responsible for is making sure that it's turned on in the mornings and off when you leave and this can easily be automated. Otherwise, they generally require minimal maintenance and the only time a major change would need to be made is if you drastically alter the floor plan of your office.
5. Can I Just Mask The Noisiest Areas?
Masking is generally installed throughout the entire office. Otherwise, the background noise level will fluctuate as employees move through the office. This can end up causing even more distractions. This is especially true for open-plan offices where sound can travel much further.
Hopefully, this has answered some of the questions you had about sound masking. This simple, affordable technology can pay off dividends in the long run by increasing speech privacy and reducing the number of distractions in your office. Employees will feel more at ease knowing that their conversations are private and that there will be no more abrupt noises to break their concentration.
At Atlantic Communications our team has decades of experience providing sound masking for businesses of all kinds. Please, contact us today to learn more about how your business could benefit from this technology or to get a personalized quote.