Many companies are beginning to notice issues developing with their open office floor plans. Without anything to block out background noise, it becomes difficult for employees to concentrate. When they start wearing headphones in order to focus on their work, productivity begins to drop. Here are some simple solutions to help keep that open office vibe while increasing work flow.
1. Added Insulation: For some companies, it's all about the echoes. For those experiencing these issues due to high ceilings, try asking your contractor to install some additional insulation. This can help to reduce the sound from bouncing around the office and get your workers some peace and quiet.
2. Panels: In a typical office, there is a mix of introverted and extroverted people. For those that are more extroverted, they may work best with some background noise and the constant collaboration often involved in open office plans. Introverts, on the other hand, work best when they have a nice quiet environment to get their work done. In these situations, it's best to add some paneling to decrease the amount of noise in the area. It's easy to get a few panels up around your workstations. So listen to your employees while creating that open office space and design it around how they work.
3. Sound Masking: Some office are so naturally open that it becomes hard to decrease the natural noise of the space. When you can hear the conversation your coworker on the opposite side of the room is having, it's time to think about sound masking. Sound masking uses basic white noise to reduce how much you can hear from your coworkers. There are a few companies that do offer to install this for your business. Here at BC Interiors, we love the sound masking done by Margenau Associates. Check out their website here and learn more about their acoustical solutions.
And at the end of the day it's best to avoid layouts like this one: