- How to soundproof your office cubicle?
Do you work in a cubicle at your workplace? Yeah? No? if not, then this article is not for you, so unless you are here for some fun reading, you will not find anything here to interest you.
This article was written by keeping in mind the people who work in a cubicle. While they are many advantages of working in a cubicle, easy socializing, if you may, there are some disadvantages associated with it too.
Disadvantages like lack of privacy, and even basic things like taking a call to become a problem because there is just so much noise all around.
Now, you are not going to ask everyone to be quiet only because you are having an important telephonic conversation, right? That is just not fair!
Then in such cases having some privacy becomes important, but the question is how to achieve that? The answer is simple, actually.
Soundproof your cubicle, and no I am not kidding. There are some really simple and effective methods to get that done, let’s see them one by one.
How to soundproof your office cubicle?
1. Select the right furniture
This solution is only valid if you are the in-charge of all this, or if in any way you can impact the furniture selection process. If you can affect that decision, then suggest some changes in the furniture like mentioned below.
So, if the furniture you use is very hard and angular, I hope you do not get too much surprised when you hear the voices around you echo.
Using hard and angular furniture is in a way an invitation to subjecting yourself to too many noises and discomfort.
So, if you can order a kind of furniture which is softer than you might be able to reduce or completely delete the prospect of echo effect.
Soft furniture is synonymous to less bouncing of sound waves off walls, floors and ceiling.
If you can add some accessories like drapes, plants and furniture like bookshelves, then that would work to reduce the noise levels too.
2. Lay some carpets in the office
Floors, ceilings and even wall should have some kind of isolation to reduce those high noise levels. Now, how can you insulate them?
You can insulate the office floor by carpeting it, not only would that absorb the noise levels, but the sound produced from women’s high heels would be silenced too.
However, that carpeting should be done on the entire office floor, only around the cubicle floor wouldn’t serve the purpose as it should.
3. Seal the holes
Now the other thing in our list is to find all the holes, crevices, cracks in the office. Had your office inspected, find some? Then get them treated, they affect the noise levels and that effect is significant.
Now, that you have one of the major sources of problems inspected, the next step is to treat them. The most efficient way to treat all the holes and cracks in the office is to use some green glue.
Green glue is a kind of soundproofing glue that makes sure that the sound does not travel from those holes and cracks to anywhere.
This is the most effective method of sealing the holes, it has some effective sound absorbing components in it.
It is a very powerful substance, so while you are applying it, make sure that you are safe. Do not forget to use a pair of gloves when you are working with it.
This one is the most versatile and effective measures of making sure that the noises remain where they are supposed to be and does not travel all the way to you.
4. Attach acoustic panels
Another thing that you can do to reduce the level of noise around you is attach some acoustic panels on the walls of your office, or your cubicle whatever suits you.
Acoustic panels are soft surfaces that absorb all the sound waves hitting them and do not let them bounce back. When the noises aren’t bouncing back then that means decreased noise level, right?
Acoustic panels, as soft as they are, they are not too much hard on your pocket, either.
These panels can be easily attached to the walls, I mean; you can even do that yourself. And even if you don’t want to, then inviting someone over will not take too much time either.
There are some self-adhesive acoustic panels available too, you can go for them for better finishing. After them being installed into your little cubicle, enjoy your peace.
5. Extend your cubicle walls
Extension of your cubicle walls can be one of the solutions, the higher they go, the better the insulation they provide.
However, you won’t be able to upgrade the existing ones; you will have to go for new ones.
I suggest getting some mountable steel/aluminium walls, customized especially for the office environment. These walls will surely reduce to the bare minimum levels.
However, if you are not the authority, then this solution will be too expensive for you to pursue. And who knows, you probably can’t follow this because of some office rules?
However, you can, as an alternative, go for some soundproofing curtains, only if your boss allows you to.
So, if you are a boss rearranging your office and if you are having a hard time because of all the noises surrounding you, then you can go for this option.
6. Sound-absorbing curtains
Even if you are not going against some office rules by installing soundproof walls, or if you have a kind boss, who doesn’t mind you doing that, the walls can be expensive. Hence, simply not meant for everyone, then we have another option for you.
You got that right, soundproofing curtains is my genius level. You can always add some curtains around your cubicle walls as a personal touch, and avoid unwanted noise at the same time.
These are huge curtains and they have a thick layer of material that is soundproof and it captures the sound waves in the air instead of letting them pass through.
Plus, the curtains are made up of soft material, and soft material neither let the sound waves pass through nor lets them bounce back to produce an echo effect. This is surely an effective solution for your unwanted noise problems.
You can hang them as they suit you, hang them from ceiling to floor or simply let them cover the cubicle walls, just as you wish the aesthetics to be.
7. Get better headphones
You would be thinking, why I didn’t think of that before, well it’s never too late. This is the easiest way to avoid every kind of noise around you, but if they are passing through the song blasting in them, then you need to replace them with a better one.
The kind of earphones that you need is the one that can cancel the background noise and has the noise canceling the effect.
Noise-canceling effect means that it cancels every background noise and captures only your noise when you are speaking in the microphone.
Rest of the noises around you should not be accepted by that headphone that is something you need.
But, what about you hearing you interlocutor? That is an important part, ladies and gentleman, and that’s why I suggest you use soundproof headphones.
These should be able to isolate you from your surroundings, and still let you communicate with your interlocutors comfortably, without causing any problem.
8. Use white noise machines
I know what you are thinking, white noise machines, seriously? Yes, seriously. I know they are used so that people can sleep peacefully at night.
But do you notice that word, peaceful? Isn’t that what you want inside your cubicle? Peace.
Yes, this is one of the many methods that you can use to soundproof your cubicles.
So, let’s cut to the chase, how do they work? If you think they will remove all the background noises, then you are wrong.
The noises will still surround you, but they won’t bother you anymore. These machines cover up the background noise by releasing their own set of neutral frequencies.
When this happens, your subconscious focuses on this relaxing, neutral sound instead of that disturbing sound. Thereby making you feel more relaxed and at ease and increase your productivity by a notch.
These machines aren’t that expensive, and they help you build just the right ambiance and environment to work in, it’s a win-win.
9. Re-adjusting the position of workers
People these days work in teams, you have your own team and likewise, there are some other teams in the office.
Some of the teams, though, are louder than others, sales team, if you will. Their job requires them to be, can’t blame them. But there is something you can still do about it.
So, if you are the boss, or if you are someone who can influence the boss’ decision, then there is this one tip for you: Keep the quieter teams away from the louder teams.
People who stay quiet, usually like their surroundings to be quiet too and when the surroundings and loud and boisterous, they find it unpleasant. So keeping them away from each other is one way to handle the problem.
10. Raise awareness about cubicle etiquette
Cubicle-etiquette is that list of all the codes of conduct that should be followed by everyone but is rarely followed.
So even if you are not the boss, the contact the HR of your office and ask them to raise some kind of awareness about the same.
These rules are actually not so hard and fast even, they are simple common sense:
- Listen to music using headphones.
- If you want to talk to someone, talking through cubicle wall is impolite, rather walk over to them.
- Do not use speakerphones or anything that might disturb other people.
- If you can’t turn your cell phone off, then keep it on silent mode.
- See, just simple common sense and nothing else, even following through these points diligently can reduce the office noise level.
In the end, if you’ve any questions or suggestions regarding, do write in the comment section below.