Author Archives: Nathan Van Ness

Covid-19 Office Environment

The Benefits of Sound Masking in ‘Echoing Offices’

The COVID-19 virus has impacted our personal and professional lives in countless ways. But as society slowly-but-surely returns to a state of normalcy, employers worldwide face important decisions regarding how best to accommodate workers’ needs when they re-enter their “new normal” workplaces.

So, as office workers around the globe begin to transition back to some semblance of their pre-pandemic, in-office work schedules, employers should be focused on ensuring their staffs experience safe, healthy and comfortable workplace environments.

But it should be noted that well before the world knew about COVID-19, disruptive workplace acoustics caused significant productivity loss across all types of office environments. Noise distractions and a lack of speech privacy have been, and will continue to be, negative impacts on overall employee comfort and productivity — unless properly addressed.

So as you plan for the return of onsite staff, consider that maybe now’s the time to take care of previously neglected workplace acoustical issues. Especially when it comes to “echoing offices,” which in most instances are open spaces with an abundance of surfaces that reflect, instead of absorb, disruptive sounds. Glass walls, open ceilings, uncovered concrete floors and lots of windows combine to make many of today’s office environments prone to negatively impactful acoustical challenges.

And the physical alterations needed to ensure a safe return to the workplace will do nothing but further degrade an office environment’s acoustics. We’re already seeing the widespread installation of Plexiglas and other hard, anti-viral surfaces as partitions to separate office staff. Such acoustically reflective additions do nothing to reduce disruptive noise.

Enter Biamp’s Cambridge sound masking solutions.

Sound masking adds a consistent level of ambient background sound to indoor environments, which successfully neutralizes the distraction-causing noises that are so prevalent – and which will become even more pronounced – in today’s workplaces.

To learn more, check out our “COVID-19 Workplace Changes” infographic, or take a few minutes to view Biamp’s “Sound Masking 101” content. I trust you’ll find these resources educational—and hopefully interesting.

Thanks for reading!

Sound Masking as a Contributor to LEED and WELL Certifications

In the midst of a global pandemic, we’re unsure when businesses will return to a state of normalcy. But when the “new normal” arrives and employees are asked to once again conduct the majority of their professional activities in the office, there’s likely to be increased focus on staff well-being — both physical and mental.

To that end, sound masking can play a key role in improving an office environment’s overall comfort level, which directly impacts workers’ onsite well-being. 

And there are global standards that directly address healthy buildings and employee wellness.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) are the leading construction-industry organizations that advocate globally for healthy-building best-practices.

Each organization features its own set of standards, with criteria-specific credits awarded to construction projects. Building owners can achieve various levels of certification by earning the required credits for each respective standard.

I encourage you to read our new white paper, which provides additional context and links to further information regarding sound masking’s role in the USBGC’s and IWBI’s building standards and their respective certifications.

Covid-19 Office Environment

COVID-19, the “New Normal” Workplace, and the Benefits of Sound Masking

Whether it’s an open-office with communal workspaces or a more traditional layout with cubicles and private offices, workplaces need to adapt to a new, pandemic-driven reality.

Open office-architecture will remain. But with the implementation of staggered work schedules to regulate onsite headcount—and thereby foster proper distancing—a lack of office-acoustic consistency will result.

Reduced/irregular office occupancy means noise distractions, speech privacy, and employee comfort will likely become MORE problematic, not less.

More-traditional offices with cubicle layouts are installing partitions between staff members, whether Plexiglas, modular wall systems, or moveable screens. These options—which are solid surfaces to allow for easier disinfecting—are acoustically reflective and will dramatically alter an office environment’s overall acoustics, making noise distractions, speech privacy and employee comfort challenges even more prominent.

COVID-19 and the “New Normal” Workplace – How Can Sound Masking Help?

With inconsistent—and more disruptive—office acoustics because of onsite employees with staggered schedules and the installation of more acoustically reflective surfaces, sound masking helps by introducing a consistent level of background sound to reduce noise distractions, increase speech privacy, and increase employee comfort.

No matter the extent to which office architecture might evolve because of COVID-19, the potential for noise distractions, lack of speech privacy, and insufficient employee comfort will remain.

When employees endure more-frequent distractions, lack speech privacy, and feel less comfortable, overall business productivity suffers.

And the problems aren’t going away, which is why sound masking remains an easily installed, cost-effective and necessary solution.

Plus, with so many relatively empty offices because of the work-from-home mandates that are so common in today’s environment, now is the perfect time to consider installing a sound masking system in your office.

Learn more about the many ways Biamp’s industry-leading, next-generation Cambridge sound masking solutions will benefit your workplace.

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New Report Shows Direct Link Between Workplace Noise Distractions and Reduced Staff Productivity

Office noise distraction is a serious problem that adversely affects workers’ productivity, according to the “2018 Workplace Distraction Report,” recently published by Udemy for Business.

As stated in the report, when asked to rank the top benefits of reducing workplace distraction, 75 percent of respondents answered, “I get more done and I’m more productive.”

While such a finding isn’t exactly earth-shattering for those of us in the business of promoting solutions that greatly reduce office noise distractions, it reinforces what’s long been known regarding lost employee productivity.

When asked to identify the top workplace distractors, “…chatty coworkers (80%) and office noise (70%)” were cited as the leading culprits.

And while sound masking isn’t called out as a potential solution, many of the frustrations identified by those surveyed could easily—and affordably—be addressed by installing a professionally designed sound masking system, like one of Biamp’s Cambridge QtPro® direct-field systems.

I encourage you to read the report in its entirety; it’s full of interesting findings—many of which should be helpful to managers looking for solutions to their employees’ office distraction issues.