Hybrid work has become a popular option for many organizations, but it has also brought challenges to workplace acoustics. One solution that has gained popularity is sound masking.
When considering the acoustic needs of a work environment, the choice between sound absorbing and sound masking solutions will depend on the specific needs of the space and the type of noise that needs to be addressed. In this article, we will explore sound masking in more detail and its impact on workplace acoustics.
Why do I Need Sound Masking in my office?
Hybrid working is a combination of traditional office spaces and remote work environments. With more employees working from home, the number of people in the office at any given time is reduced. This means that the traditional office environment is no longer as quiet as it used to be, and sound distractions can be more pronounced. The need for speech privacy becomes increasingly important.
How Sound Masking Works
Sound masking involves emitting a soft, uniform background sound in a space to improve speech privacy and reduce noise distractions. This sound is typically created by installing loudspeakers above the suspended ceiling or at ceiling level. The neutral sound created helps to make conversations and noise distractions less audible, which improves staff concentration, and productivity and increases speech privacy.
Benefits of Sound Masking in office Workspaces
Sound masking has several benefits for office workspaces. It can:
- Improve speech privacy by making conversations less intelligible.
- Reduce noise distractions by creating a more uniform background sound.
- Increase staff concentration and productivity by reducing noise distractions.
- Create a more comfortable and welcoming environment for staff and visitors.
- Contribute to staff well-being by improving the acoustics of the workspace.
IPSOS Study on Workplace Satisfaction
An extensive international study by IPSOS, global market research, and consulting firm, found that 85% of office staff are dissatisfied with their working environments and have a hard time concentrating on their tasks. This is strongly correlated with the fact that open floor plans have become commonplace. The study also showed that typical interruptions, such as others’ conversations, ringtones, loud typing, printers, mobile notifications, etc., cause staff to lose up to 86 minutes a day. Several studies show the negative impact of workplace distractions on mental health and workplace absenteeism.
How to set up Zoning with Sound Masking
When setting up an office space with sound -masking we use specialised software to design and manage the unique system specific to the individual’s office. The floor plan is divided into zones/circuits, with each block representing an area with unique acoustic characteristics. For example, a small meeting room will be in a different zone than the open plan area because the sound coming from those speakers will be much quieter than is required in the open area.
What is Ambient Noise Sensing?
With the use of noise sensors, the sound masking level (loudness) is automatically and gradually increased or decreased to ensure the sound masking is unnoticeable when it’s quiet and still effective when the ambient noise is louder. This feature is particularly effective in open-plan spaces where the ambient noise is unpredictable and/or changeable throughout the day due to the level of employees in and out of the office. Both too much and too little ambient noise are equally detrimental to the office experience and staff performance.
Another popular use of the noise-sensing feature is to position one inside a room where private phone calls or conversations are being overheard. This will increase the level of the sound masking outside, thus rendering the overheard conversation unintelligible.
If you’re interested in learning more about how sound masking can improve workplace acoustics in your organization, reach out to us for more information. Our team of experts would be happy to discuss your needs and help you design a sound masking system that meets your specific requirements. Contact us today to get started!