Hush! Reducing Office Distractions With New Carpeting

4 November 2014
 Categories: , Articles


In an open office plan, small sounds build up into a constant cacophony that can slowly aggravate your employees, reducing both their output and job satisfaction. However, there are ways to keep the benefits of an open office design while reducing the stress of background noise. By installing noise absorbing carpet in your office space you can reduce the amount of daily noise your employees are exposed to and increase the comfort and efficiency of your office. 

Is noise really a big deal? 

You may think that your office is relatively quiet. However, studies have shown that the modern open office design has enough aural distractions to reduce worker productivity by 66 percent. These noises include the sound of footsteps, phones ringing, items being dropped, and conversations between fellow employees. Any combinations of these noises can make it difficult for your employees to perform mental calculations and impair the formation of short and long term memories

This constant noise may not only affect your employees' productivity, but it can also affect their mental health. Your employees may feel more stress, anxiety, and irritation which can impede the collaboration that an open office design is supposed to support.

In an office setting, your employees may not even recognize that it is background noise that is causing their high stress levels. While industrial employees or food industry workers expect to deal with high levels of noise every day, and may take measures to protect their hearing, office workers often assume that their work environment will be quiet and do not view noise as a source of their dissatisfaction. 

Can carpet really help? 

Carpet reduces ambient noise in three ways. First, it absorbs airborne sounds, such as voices or ringing telephones. Second, it muffles surface noises, made by footsteps or dropped objects, that are usually reflected back into the room by tiles or concrete. Finally, it disperses impact sound heard on the floors below you, which is highly important if your office is lofted or spans multiple floors in your building. 

The overall effect of these three noise reductions is a muffling of background noise that is less likely to interrupt the work flow of your workers than sudden, sharp noises. It is also less likely for dull noises to create irritation over time. Your employees may be happier and more efficient. 

Finally, in a room that does not echo back every noise an employee makes, your employees may feel encouraged to have collaborative conversations and move about your open office without worrying whether they are distracting those around them. 

What kind of carpet should you get? 

There are many options for commercial carpets on the market. Carpet tiles are an excellent, cost efficient solution for many businesses. They do not require an underlay, and high traffic areas can be replaced when they are warn without having to replace the entire carpet. If you decide to go with tile carpeting, you should look into carpeting with a specialized foam backing that will replace the underlay in traditional carpeting in the noise absorption process. 

An open office plan can be great for collaboration, but the extra noise may actually hurt your employee productivity. While carpet is an excellent way to reduce the added noise, you may also want to take other measures, such as providing a few closed work spaces where employees working on tasks involving high levels of concentration can work without any background noise. For the day to day noise and stress in your office, a nicely padded tile carpet may be all your employees need to get back to their high levels of productivity. 

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