Our new blog, “How to Reduce Noise in the Office” is, we feel, well-timed.
Many of life’s normal rhythms have returned.
Yet, post-pandemic (we’ll only mention it once), – London’s Docklands, the City, and other UK-wide centres of traditional industrious toil and a long-hours culture look and feel empty.
Of particular note on Fridays and Mondays, the WFH approach is proving hard to shift. No one’s around.
How We Work Now
Working hard and playing hard have morphed into Zooming on the sofa, with your cat trying to get in on the action.
However, now that we can go back into the office, here at Pattrn we think that people should. Working from the office generally means better productivity and stronger motivation. And, of course, it eliminates that dreadful feeling of isolation that affected so many of us so badly, and for so long.
Being at work is about teamwork, and knowing that you’re being rewarded for a job well done. In other words, better mental health all round.
In fact, some businesses (Barclays, and ironically – Zoom, for example) are starting to put their foot down about attendance. WFO, not WFH has to happen at least two days a week.
We Have an Issue. Noise.
Contemporary open-plan offices are simply too loud.
Or, they can be. The closed office concept has been in decline for years. There are far fewer places to take sensitive calls or even spaces for quiet, concentrated work. Most offices are all-in-one, with break-out areas and the occasional meeting or conference room. Without a doubt, noise pollution, if we can call it that, is affecting productivity.
Distractions damage our concentration. And, this is where mistakes happen. It takes a while to re-focus when interrupted – hearing a conversation, someone calling across the office, all that kind of thing.
Two things to bear in mind:
- The popularity of Zoom and Teams. Over the last three years, online communication has streamlined our world. It’s woven its way into our working day. However, replicating this in the office, even with headphones, means that voices are resonating around the office, pinging off hard surfaces, and driving everyone to distraction.
There are not enough quiet spaces.
- Shorter leases. Office leases, once long-term, have been truncated. There has been pressure on landlords to rethink the way that they rent commercial property. The result is an unwillingness on the part of businesses to invest in the infrastructure of a building. Thus, no money to spend on reducing noise.
You may not be thinking about relocating or considering a significant refurbishment. You do, however, need help with your acoustics. Sound bounces off walls and ceilings. There’s too much clatter at work. Your people are your best asset. Don’t lose them. Here are a few tips that can make a difference:
Pattrn works with many furniture manufacturers who produce pods.
What are they? Pods are self-contained spaces – little rooms within a room, as it were – suitable for between 1-24+ employees. They try to block out sound almost entirely and some work better than others. Here, your people can be on conference calls to their hearts’ content, with no distraction to other people. Equally, they’re uber-quiet places for them to concentrate fully on that all-important proposal or presentation.
Staff with conditions such as ADHD or dyslexia can use pods exceptionally well, as quiet conditions remove them from the anxiety that large or open spaces can sometimes generate.
Also, they’re an excellent option when private or confidential affairs need to be discussed.
Custom Green Walls
Let’s bring the outside in.
Nobody was ever offended by trees. Or, nature in general, come to that. It’s why we celebrate real Christmas trees and nurture plants in our homes. In a working environment, greenery appeals to us; well-laid-out plants – especially when we place them strategically around a room, boost productivity by improving our mood and satisfaction.
But, did you know that greenery is also a highly effective way to reduce noise in the office?
We’re pleased to work with designers of 100% natural indoor acoustic solutions for the workplace. Moss looks amazing and when used indoors, it can lessen sound in any building layout. It’s especially effective in open floorplans, as it literally absorbs noise. All the while encouraging sustainability and making your indoor space look rather lovely.
And, moss walls are almost totally maintenance-free.
Noise Reducing Materials and Other Strategies
Talk to Pattrn about how we can help you with the following.
To deliver the best outcome for peace and quiet at work in your office, we need to know all about you: what your staff do, where they do it and how they interact.
Sorry about the cliché, but this is likely to be a holistic exercise. As in, looking at your operation as a whole. In effect, we’ll take a bottom-up approach, rather than attaching a symbolic sticking plaster, and we are extremely good at this; nevertheless, no doubt you’ll want to know what’s out there.
We can offer a free survey to help identify issues and options to fix this.
Bear in mind the following options:
Acoustic screens and partitions. Desk-mounted or freestanding, with high-quality materials, they can help separate workstations, reduce noise transfer, and offer a sense of privacy.
Sound-absorbing furniture. Upholstered chairs and sofas can soak up sound.
Ceiling treatments. Did you know that suspended acoustic panels, baffles or clouds absorb sound, reduce reverberation and can be effective anti-noise problem-solvers?
Incorporating quiet zones. These spaces should be free from distractions, mobile phone conversations, music – everything. Think: the quiet carriage on a train, but at work.
Space management. Pattrn has in-depth expertise in helping to devise designated areas for specific activities and how particular furniture will work in these spaces.
Collaboration areas, focused work areas and break-out spaces will help to separate the soft from the loud and enable everyone to get on with their busy day.
In summary, it is possible to reduce noise in the office.
More than possible, in fact. Thankfully, we have our lives back, and should celebrate our work culture. As a leader in the workplace, with help from the experts here at Pattrn, you can make it happen. Get in touch with us for more information.