Office Acoustics & Why They’re Getting Worse

Office Acoustics & Why They’re Getting Worse

The modern office

Ever since having kids, the idea of sleeping in or taking a weekend nap, has gone out the window.  Bless my husband’s heart, even when he gets up with the kids or watches them so I can hypothetically sleep longer or for a nap, I still can’t sleep because THERE’S TOO MUCH NOISE!  From cries for breakfast or over spilt milk to thundering footsteps of heel-heavy children on old wood floors to my bedroom being the hub between the baby’s room, the kitchen, the back door, and the basement, there’s just no getting around all the noise.

Sadly, the same is true for workers in cubicles.  Even those dedicated to productive work simply can’t stay focused. The modern office has become a noisy, distracting environment,and it’s only getting worse.  In a study by the Data Entry Management Association, poor office acoustics increased the errors made in data entries by as much as 27%.   Furthermore, cost-cutting tactics lead to workstations being placed more closely together than ever, with the result of more people making noise in a smaller area.  Additionally, telecommunications has become vital to doing business, resulting in the distracting sounds of phones and fax machines all day long.

How Sound Masking Works

Since office noise has been found to adversely affect employee productivity, those acoustics must be improved.  Many businesses agree and have turned to sound masking. Interestingly, while the technology is fairly new, the practice of sound masking is not.  In fact, the ancient Romans used indoor fountains in homes to mask the noise outside. You’re probably familiar with this phenomenon yourself: have you tried to have a conversation with someone in another room while you’re in the bathroom with the water running?  If you have, then you have experienced sound masking.

The regular office has gotten noisier. Sound masking is used in offices today to reduce noise levels in the workplace. By introducing a low-frequency, non-intrusive sound to the environment, distracting noise like phone calls and loud voices are reduced. In this way, masking helps to increase productivity in the office by helping workers focus better and be more productive.