Post-Covid offices are keeping their open-plan layouts while ensuring that social distancing guidelines are met, this along with the implementation of staggered work schedules to regulate onside headcount means that a lack of office-acoustic consistency will result.
There is no doubt that open office plans will remain. Some offices are installing partitions between staff members using Plexiglas, modular wall systems and moveable screens that meet the necessary COVID-19 requirements. These screen types are easy to disinfect and very hygienic.
However, their solid surfaces are acoustically reflective. This means that they are not going to provide a calm and distraction-free environment, on the contrary, they will make noise distractions, speech privacy and employee comfort challenges even more prominent.
Most employees, to keep their performance rates and productivity levels at an all-time high, require “sound-separation” from their colleagues to be able to concentrate on their work. Sound Masking does exactly that – blurring background noise and helping workers concentrate on their tasks by providing a distraction-free environment.
Sound Masking is ambient background sound engineered to match the frequency of human speech creating less distracting office environments. By introducing Sound Masking, noise levels are reduced, making the office environment more appealing to those who want to focus on getting their work done away from the day-to-day distractions, like the sound of the coffee machine, or general office chat.
Sound masking is very similar to the sound of airflow that targets conversational distractions to make them less distracting. It doesn’t cancel out sound completely, but instead reduces its radius of distraction, meaning that it is confined to a certain area and distributed around the office as ambient sound.
Unwanted noise has a distinct location. When you hear a phone ring on your co-workers’ desk – you can easily pinpoint where that sound is coming from. A sound masking system balances the ambient sound levels across the room. When the system is properly tuned and installed, the unwanted noises will fade into the background as background noise.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many offices are still at minimum capacity, as employees are still required to work from home if able to do so. However, easing lockdown rules will encourage managers to open their doors again and resume normal business operations. Before office spaces are running at full capacity again, it is important for them to consider the best office practices and set-ups to welcome back their employees and improve productivity levels. This makes it the perfect time to install sound masking systems that will limit any disruptions to and improve employee satisfaction in the workplace.
Increasingly more companies are switching to the hybrid working model. This means that there will be the option for employees to work some days of the working week from home and other days in the office. Many companies are now investing in technology solutions to improve the office environment for those who do come into the office.
Reduced and irregular office occupancy means noise distractions, speech privacy, and employee comfort will likely become more problematic, not less – and the installation of a sound masking system would be beneficial.
We are all aware of the typical noise and distractions that occur in the home – noisy neighbors, kids, washing machines, etc. – these distractions often irritate us and cause us distress when on work calls or trying to concentrate on different tasks. Although we cannot change or influence the noises that occur in our home environments, we can improve and control noises that occur in the office.
Some of the benefits of sound masking include:
Employee physical and mental wellbeing is one of the key factors for employee success and satisfaction in their role. Sound masking can provide just that, by creating a harmonious and distraction-free office atmosphere.
Every organisation that deals with sensitive client or business information is bound to follow strict GDPR regulations. Speech privacy in the open office environment can be difficult to manage. Sound masking system provides this security and ensures that businesses are adhering to strict government regulations on confidentiality in the workplace.
The overall effectiveness of sound masking is celebrated by businesses who have described how it has improved their workplace acoustics and helped them to a space that has achieved the perfect balance between being either too quiet or too loud.
Work environments such as open offices, conference rooms, hallways, and call centers present their own specific noise and privacy challenges. While open offices offer the possibility to communicate and share ideas freely, it can impact people’s productivity and efficiency levels for those who find it easier to work in distraction-free environments. Low productivity in employees can be attributed to workplace distractions such as overheard conversations.
Overheard conversations can be an issue for businesses concerned about keeping their conversations private and confidential. While conducting important meetings with clients in conference rooms, it is vital to make sure that conversations do not spill out into the hallway.
Similarly, call centers deal with a huge number of customers on the phone, usually, in an office that has an open-space layout. Phone conversations between the customer and the sales agent can be a much more enjoyable experience when they are without background noise.
This can be improved with the help of a sound masking device. This solution has been said to improve worker performance by nearly 10%.
Biamp is leading the way in the sound masking technology industry, with its Qt Pro and Dynasound Pro systems. Biamp has shared their vast knowledge and experience of sound masking technology with its customers all around the world and has helped companies to improve their business operations and to increase overall employee productivity and satisfaction rates. They have a solution for any type of Sound Masking system requirement.
The industry’s first direct field sound masking system provides superior uniformity and is highly energy-efficient making it the go-to product to improve sustainability in the workplace. All QtPro systems are GreenSpec listed for their low carbon footprint, making it the most environmentally friendly sound masking system on the market.
It is also recommended when trying to apply for an industry-standard ‘LEED certification’, by mitigating and cancelling out any acoustic challenges that are required to be resolved as part of the certification process. The standard QtPro system consists of three simple components: emitters (i.e. loudspeakers), a control module that powers and sends the audio signal to the emitters, and standard category cables that connect the emitters to the control modules.
Due to the simplicity of QtPro, installation is quick, efficient, and effective, with limited disruptions to your business.
The Dynasound Pro is the only sound masking system that allows each speaker to be individually controlled remotely via software.
One of the key advantages of the Dynasound line is the ability to address each speaker individually connected to a local network, which allows each individual speaker to be tuned remotely. With pinpoint control, DynasoundPro sound masking allows for uniform masking coverage in any space and can also allow for music (or paging) to be sent on a system-wide, per zone, or per speaker basis.
Despite the Post-Covid workforce transitioning into a hybrid working setup, offices continue to remain the central hub for communication and collaboration, for businesses on a global scale. It is important to continuously re-evaluate the functionality of those environments and to see what effects various disturbances have on employee efficiency. Sound masking provides benefits that create a less distracting office environment by increasing employee productivity and overall satisfaction.
If you like the sound of Masking with Biamp, speak to our Midwich Audio team. Contact them now on 0161 868 1240