Jul 27th 2017

5 Quick Design Fixes for Noise In Open Offices

John Stein

The Noise Problem

Unnecessary noise sucks. If you’ve ever sat in an office, listening to Jill from Accounting complain incessantly about her boyfriend or Chad in Sales overshare his weekend escapades, you understand. And if you haven’t, you’re lucky. Researchers have found that in an office, overheard conversations of coworkers and noise in open offices can lead to serious distraction in productivity.

You can’t control how loud and how often coworkers talk. But you can make a quick acoustic design fix or two to help drown out the sound. Save your personal space and muffle the noise in open offices with these quick acoustic design fixes!

Add a rug to the room

Chances are, if you have hardwood or concrete floors in your office, sound is getting bounced around a lot more than you realize. Consider adding a rug underneath your desk or chair.

If you already have carpet, think about adding a rug anyways. When it comes to noise in open offices, the more soft material in a space, the better.

Buy Soft Furniture

Speaking of soft materials, another easy way to absorb sound in your space is to introduce soft furniture. If you have the ability to order furniture for your office, consider pieces with soft fabrics or leather.

If you are looking for something to put in an open space, look into comfy couches. Some desks and chairs now come with acoustic material hidden underneath the bottom of the piece so that sound bounced off the floor can be absorbed.

Introduce Sound-Absorbing Panels

Probably the most effective way to control the noise (as well as a very quick acoustic design fix) is to install acoustic panels. These are typically installed on a wall or hung from the ceiling. (If you work in an office with ACT ceilings, there are even some options for adding better sound-absorbing material into the grid!)

Not only do they efficiently absorb sound, they also can come in design-friendly colors and shapes. Say goodbye to noise in open offices with some trendy, useful panels!

Pot Some Plants

Get your green thumb on! Plants have been proven to absorb sound as well as clean the air, so why not have them in your office?

If you have room and more time (along with the budget!) for a large-scale versions of this quick acoustic design fix, consider adding a living wall to your space! Not only do living walls add extreme visual appeal to your office space, they also (of course) absorb more sound than the average desk plants.

Throw on Some Headphones

Probably the easiest fix for noise in open offices: Sound-cancelling headphones. With so many options on the market, including many cost-effective options, you’ll be able to block some of coworkers’ conversations by purchasing a pair.

Stopping the Noise In Open Offices

These suggestions above work better when used together and aren’t the end-all to permanently fixing noise in open offices. If you have a serious acoustic problem in your space, it’s best to contact an acoustic consultant.

Download our guide to Understanding Acoustics here to get an expert’s opinion on how to stop the sound in a variety of spaces. And reach out to us if you need help fixing your space!