You will agree with me that staying focused at work can be quite challenging. Almost all workplaces these days are noisy- if it is not someone watching a WhatsApp or Instagram story, it is a group discussing politics or yesterday night’s game. Then there are colleagues who curse and swear all the time, not forgetting those who are constantly on social media through their phones. All these noise distractions lead to decreased productivity.
If you wish to complete your work on time, it is imperative that you find a way of minimizing these distractions. But how do you pull that off? In this article, we explore 5 strategies that you can apply to minimize distractions in a noisy work environment.
1. Noise friendly flooring
Hard flooring surfaces like porcelain, ceramic and natural wood can wreak havoc in an office setting due to the enormous amount of noise they create. Vinyl flooring is a better alternative because it is designed with acoustic backing that is meant for sound absorption. On top of being effective in minimizing noise, vinyl flooring is easier to maintain, it’s easy to install, and it comes in a variety of design options. You can also opt to install a rubber underlayment on your existing floor because rubber is an excellent absorber of sound. Other floor modifications that will dampen the sounds in your office include placing resilient padding products or cork-subflooring under the rag.
2. Sound deadening furniture
Sound deadening and sound-absorbing materials can be incorporated in the office furniture, including on the couches, lounge chairs and cabinet filling. These materials range from privacy panels with in-built baffles to soft stuffing fabrics that dampen the noise. Furniture that is upholstered in plush fabrics e.g. microfiber, suede, corduroy, or chenille are also great in this regard. You can also add textured throw pillows to the office couch for an additional soundproofing buffer. If you don’t trust your design abilities, don’t freak out because there are many designers these days that use noise-canceling acoustic fabric when making office furniture for added functionality, comfort, and quiet.
3. Soundproof the office
The need for soundproofing an office is determined by two main goals. You either want to keep sounds from entering the office from outside or to keep sounds from one corner from spilling over to other corners within the office. Understanding the bother between the two will help in knowing how to soundproof. Placing room dividers within the office can be a solution if the noise is coming from within. The dividers create small insulating air spaces between them, consequently limiting how far the sound gets. You will need more effective soundproofing materials if the noise is leaking in from the outdoors. You can, for example, attach an extra window pane on the existing one to boost the glass density and, in turn, doubling their ability to block out noise. Acoustic panels are also effective in deadening outside noises because they are impenetrable.
4. Indoor plants
Indoor plants have proven effective when it comes to noise reduction in the office, particularly in open layout offices. How do plants reduce noise? For starters, large plants block sounds waves from reverberating within the office. On top of that, some house plant parts such as thick stems and rough barks, broad leaves, and fleshy branches, etc. absorb sound.
Sound deflection is yet another way indoor plants lower noise distractions. When sound waves hit a large, rigid surface, maybe furniture or a masonry wall, the surface reflects the waves right back toward the source. But when they hit a flexible material such as a houseplant, the plant vibrates, consequently transforming the wave energy into other forms of energy. They also deflect the sound wave in different directions. As you can see, plants are a very nice sound absorber, therefore despite their health benefits, they have also noise absorption benefits. What is more interesting nowadays, is that you can grow them indoors without much sunlight. All you need is LED grow lights and there you have it. Your plants will be able to grow as if nothing is missing.
5. Noise-canceling headphones
If revamping your office is not convenient for you, then you might opt for an easy option like purchasing a pair of high-quality noise-canceling headphones to block out unwanted noises. These headphones are designed with special processing systems that create a wave that opposes the unwanted sound wave, resulting in the cancellation of the background noise.
It is rare to have a completely quiet office. To achieve a quiet environment, it will take the collaboration of the employer and all employees. And because a quiet office boosts employee productivity, you can’t afford to keep bearing with the unwanted noises in your office.