How to Reduce Noise in Small Offices: Your Guide to Office Acoustics

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Wondering how to reduce noise in small office spaces? You’ve come to the right place. As the leading experts in office and educational acoustics, we know how to reduce noise in small office spaces without encroaching on space. We’ve broken down all of the innovative ways that small office spaces and open-plan layout commercial spaces can reduce noise with the right office acoustic tools.

Working in an office environment, the most common problem faced by employees working in an office setting is noise. Throw in limited space, and you’ve got a constant and congested buzz of activity that can be incredibly distracting, unproductive and ultimately, detrimental to the success of a business.

A noisy office is much more than a small indignation; multiple studies reveal that too much office noise can reduce productivity and efficiency, increase stress and decrease overall employee job satisfaction and motivation. What’s more, a noisy office will only reverberate against walls, floors, ceilings and furniture if there are no noise reduction acoustic features put in place.

At Whiteboards & Pinboards, we specialise in office acoustics and creating a more functional, productive environment for your workplace setting. Between aggressive keyboard usage, enthusiastic phone conversations and the incessant sounds of office equipment, office noises can be incredibly draining. The experts in office acoustics, we have the know-how to reduce noise in small offices and improve your open-plan office layouts. Without further ado, here’s your guide on how to reduce noise in small office spaces:

How to Reduce Noise in Small Offices

When you have limited space, it can be challenging to how to reduce noise in small office areas. Employees may have no choice but to work in close proximity; however, there are a few ways to improve the office acoustics in small offices: 

  • Create A Dedicated Quiet Space
  • Assess Office Flooring, Insulation & Acoustics
  • Offer a Dedicated Meeting Space

Open Plan Office Noise Reduction

While many find that a lively, open-plan office space brimming with collaborative opportunities makes for an invigorating environment, others strenuously disagree. In the modern workplace, how do you find a happy medium? Improve office acoustics.

In open-plan office layouts, there are three primary forms of noise that employees and staff will have to deal with:

  1. Conversational noise: Conversations or discussions at the watercooler, breakout areas, meeting rooms or colleagues taking phone calls – it can all get very loud, and very distracting. Once you multiply this across a large, open office that is designed to have employees working together, it can quickly get out of hand. 
  2. Office equipment noise: Between printers, scanners, photocopiers, computers and other machines within an open-plan office, the background buzz can become overwhelming in large spaces. 
  3. External noise: Depending on where your office is located, external noises in industrial, commercial and corporate environments can impact the acoustics of an open-plan office.

How to Deal with Noise in an Open Plan Office

How to reduce noise in open plan offices is a bit more difficult than reducing noise in a small office space. Open-plan offices are designed with collaboration and that start-up buzz of activity in mind – open plan office noise reduction comes down to improving the acoustics and helping individual employees find ways to concentrate and be productive. 

If you’re working in an open plan office and are wondering how to deal with noise in an open plan office individually, there are a few ways you can combat the sounds around your desk. For starters, we recommend investing in a good quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones. With noise-cancelling headphones, you’ll be able to successfully complete your tasks without getting distracted by your colleagues and the incessant background noise of a large, open-plan office. 

Another great solution for how to deal with noise in an open plan office is to use desk dividers on your workstation. Desk dividers can be acoustic friendly, helping to absorb and deflect much of the noise that your colleagues are making around you. What’s more, they can be removed if need be, and allow for a little bit of privacy for each desk employee within a large space. 

How to Reduce Noise in Open Plan Office

If you’re a business owner and are looking for more structural solutions for how to reduce noise in an open plan office, we’ve got you covered. There are actually plenty of fantastic tools, accessories and office furniture items that can improve the office acoustics of an open plan office. Here are some more of our top tips for how to reduce noise in an open plan office:

Use White Noise 

One proven strategy for reducing noise in open plan office is to fight noise with noise. While it may seem counterintuitive, ambient noise (white noise) playing the background at a consistent level has been proven to mask unwanted sounds. In an open-plan office, playing white noise in the background can muffle the jarring and distracting noises being created by machines, colleagues and the sounds of the external surrounds.

Acoustic Panels 

One of the best ways to reduce noise in an open plan office layout is to improve the acoustics. The key to office acoustics is to lower the noise levels in busy areas by reducing the sound that reflects off walls, flooring and office furniture items.

Sound-absorbing acoustic wall panels are an incredibly effective tool used to combat noise pollution and absorb harsh noises. Hanging ceiling panels also provide the same effect and are ideal for workplaces with limited wall space. Acoustic panels reduce noise levels, control sound reverberation and can also improve the aesthetics and insulation of an open-plan office layout.

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Plant Some Office Plants

Office plants not only look great and filter the air within a large office space, but they can also help to break up noise and office sounds. Plants boast sound-absorbing qualities and can be incredibly helpful for both interior and exterior setting sounds. If you really want to bring the outside in, we recommend constructing a garden wall to offer noise reduction and air quality improvements.

Whiteboards & Pinboards Office Acoustics

Office acoustics can be challenging – whether it be a small office or an open plan office layout, no two commercial spaces are the same. Every space requires different noise-reducing needs. With these handy tips, you should be able to work out some practices for how to reduce noise in small offices and open layouts. However, the best course of action for noise reduction is to work with office acoustic professionals.

Here at Whiteboards and Pinboards, we offer free acoustic analysis and a friendly team of professionals on hand to answer any queries and help with the best possible office acoustic solution. Between acoustic panels, wall panels, ceiling panels, fabric rolls and 3D acoustic solutions, we are the leading experts in office acoustic products. Check out our full range of acoustic panels today to reduce noise in your office and improve the productivity in your workplace.

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  1. I’ve always struggled with noise in our open-plan office, and your suggestions, especially about using acoustic panels and office plants, seem very practical.

    1. Hi Drago. The recommendations in this blog post are a good place to start exploring your options. The solutions you choose are typically dictated by the office itself such as layout, size, ceiling type, and so on. Acoustic ceiling tiles designed to slot into suspended ceiling grids are a common choice for offices. Quietspace panel is one of the most effective acoustic panels we have and is ideal for attaching to walls and ceilings. Other than that, you can look at furniture, plants, desktop screens and dividers, and hanging acoustic screens or standing partitions. Please feel free to contact our customer service team if you would like some assistance in finding a solution for your business.