Have you ever been distracted by different noises at work? Maybe you couldn’t focus due to a coworker’s conversation across the room. No matter how hard you tried to ignore the conversation, it was impossible to drown out. Whatever the source is, noise can be distracting—especially at work.
That is where sound masking comes in. Research suggests that open offices with insufficient sound masking solutions experience 30% or more errors in basic tasks and a 40% loss in productivity. Effective sound masking not only improves productivity, but it can also lower the stress load on employees, customers, or patients. Let’s take a look at what sound masking is and how it can benefit your business.
What is Sound Masking?
Simply put, sound masking is an effective way to reduce distracting noises that increase stress and interfere with productivity. It provides a comfortable middle ground between the eerily quiet library and the distractingly noisy restaurant. With the right sound masking system in place, your office building becomes an environment that accommodates the dynamics of a place filled with workers and clientele of all kinds.
How Does Sound Masking Work?
Sound masking fights noise with noise. That might seem contradictory, but experts have engineered the technique to make it successful. Sound masking does not use just any kind of noise to reduce distractions. It uses specifically engineered noises that match the frequencies of human speech. These noises essentially cancel out the distracting noise you might hear in a quiet office, such as a conversation across the room.
It is important to notice the emphasis on distracting in the previous sentence. Sound masking doesn’t cancel out all noise, just distracting noises like speech. When you can hear a coworker’s conversation, it is distracting because you hear words you know. It is hard to tune out. But when sound masking matches the frequencies of human speech, it essentially muffles the speech so that you can no longer hear distinct words. While the noise is still there, it is less distracting.
Furthermore, sound masking does not utilize familiar sounds, like music or ocean waves. Although some people have no problem working with these noises in the background, many people do. That is because those particular sounds have meaning. Hearing the ocean might lead you to think of a memory, which may lead down a rabbit trail of distraction. Music can have the same affect. The noise created by sound masking has no associated meaning, so it won’t distract you. In fact, when done correctly, you shouldn’t even know that a sound masking system is in place.
Sound Masking vs. White Noise
Most of us are familiar with white noise machines. They are most notably used to improve sleeping environments. By now, you might be wondering if there is a difference between sound masking and white noise. Yes, there is! While both practices use noise, they use different kinds of noise. Sound masking uses noise that matches the frequencies of human speech. White noise machines use noises with any kind of frequency, making the generated noise less subtle. In some working environments, white noise can actually be more distracting.
The Benefits of Sound Masking
Sound masking offers a variety of benefits to companies, including increased productivity, privacy, and satisfaction for employees, as well as reduced costs for employers.
Sound masking boosts productivity by reducing noise distractions. It can help employees maintain their focus and train of thought during tedious or difficult tasks. They will be able to complete tasks quicker, due to fewer interruptions throughout the day.
Sound masking increases privacy in all kinds of settings, from corporate offices to school buildings to hospitals. With sound masking technology muffling distant conversations, you no longer have to worry about someone overhearing confidential information.
Considering the fact that sound masking reduces every day distractions, it can improve employee morale at the same time. Employees no longer find themselves irritated by conversations interrupting their own work. With an environment more conducive to concentration, they can happily focus on their own to-do list.
If you’re in the process of building or renovating your office space, you can save money with sound masking. Sound masking systems require less insulation for office space, fewer walls, and less expensive sound-reducing floors and ceilings.
Who Needs Sound Masking?
As you might have gathered from the previous section, every kind of work environment can benefit from sound masking. The more people moving around in a space and the closer they work together, the more vital it is to have a system that can promote concentration and maintain absolute comfort. Here are just some of the types of businesses that utilize sound masking technology.
- Corporate Offices and Labs
- Hospitals and Clinics
- Schools and Libraries
- Hotels, Resorts, and Spas
- Courtrooms and Firms
- Call Centers
- Stores and Car Dealerships
- Churches and Arenas
Nearly every business can benefit from sound masking. If you’re wondering whether or not it could benefit your employees, ask them! Find out if they can hear conversations from other employees on a regular basis. You might even consider sending out a survey and letting employees answer anonymously, which might result in honest feedback.
Sound Masking Solutions from Suite Office Systems
Tired of distracting noises in your office? Don’t lose your employees to their headphones when we can install a noise generator to create a comfortable level of silence that helps workers stay productive and focused. Suite Office Systems can provide you with a sound masking system to block out unwanted phone ringing, text message alerts, and conversations. Whether you’re in a corporate, retail, healthcare, or other kind of workspace, our expert engineers can craft a customized sound masking system to maximize comfort, privacy, and productivity. Contact us today to learn more.