Three Quick (and Relatively Cheap) Ways to Reduce Office Noise.

Posted by: Mitchell H. Kirsch 0 comments

Image © Rakesh Vaghela

Office life may thrive or die based on the ambient noise level in the workplace. And we’re not talking about the occasional irritating one-way conversation from Doris in Accounting.

“The single most powerful determinant of individual performance, team performance, and job satisfaction is the ability to do, for all job types, large amounts of distraction-free work… with noise being the greatest bulk of distractions,” says Michael Brill, president of Bosti Associates.

So we can’t blame you if you’re constantly searching for office noise reduction techniques to turn the volume down at work. Keep your office life productive with one or more of these methods guaranteed to cut down on your office noise problem, without cutting too deeply into your budget either:

Office plants. Indoor foliage does more than make your desk look pretty – office plants can reduce office noise by breaking up or diverting sound waves. A study conducted at South Bank University showed that office plants can help to reduce noise levels by as much as 5 decibels.

For the best effect, arrange the plants along walls and corners to catch the sound waves before they bounce from the walls and back into the room! Pro tip: the best plants to deploy as office noise-busters are the Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) and the Benjamin’s Fig (Ficus benjamina).

Two more noise-reducing techniques for the office, after the jump.  (read more)

Headphones, and the right music. Aggravating sounds can be blocked out by piped-in music from a headphone. Not only does music cut down on noise, it can help stimulate your mind while you perform monotonous tasks, helping reduce stress even further.

Sealed-can headphones like the Sennheiser HD-280 are ideal at both blocking out noise and delivering soothing sounds. Just remember that these headphones can block out the noise of a fire alarm, too. But the risk of missing a fire is quite low compared to the benefit of increasing productivity.

“You are one-third as productive in open-plan offices as in quiet rooms,” says Julian Treasure (previously mentioned in this blog entry). “I have a tip for you – if you have to work in spaces like that, carry headphones with you, with a soothing sound like birdsong, put it on, and your productivity goes back up to triple what it would be.”

Custom-made earplugs. This tip can get you exquisitely customized silence in your workplace: go to the neighborhood otolaryngology clinic and ask the resident ear doctor about custom molded earplugs. This involves getting a mold made of your inner ear, and using the mold to create a custom-fit earplug.

No two ear canals are alike, having a personalized mold of your ear’s innards ensure you get the best silence money and foam can buy.

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