The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that hearing loss due to noise exposure at work remains a significant occupational hazard. According to them, about 17,000 people in the UK experience tinnitus, deafness, and other ear conditions due to excessive noise exposure at work. A noisy work environment prevents employees from hearing warning signals, negatively affects communication, and lowers concentration, affecting productivity. Consequently, it is prudent to make your business as quiet as possible to keep employees safe and productive. Here’s how to reduce noise in your workplace.
- Select the right workplace design
According to a survey commissioned by renowned office design company Oktra, UK companies could be losing millions of pounds due to uninspiring and poorly designed office spaces. Indeed, three-quarters of respondents in the survey of 2,000 office workers revealed that they think their office environment makes them less effective and productive at work. A poor layout is one of the biggest factors that can make an office environment difficult to work in. For instance, the open office plan is immensely popular because it encourages flexibility and collaboration. However, employee productivity is threatened in such an environment due to its inherent lack of noise control systems.
Consequently, it is better to opt for an activity-based working (ABW) work environment instead of an open floor plan. An ABW environment has dedicated spaces for meetings and brainstorming as well as areas for quieter activities such as deep work. These spaces also typically have phone booths where staff can privately take calls without disturbing their co-workers. Finally, consider designing your office to place kitchens, conference rooms, break areas, and high-traffic spaces away from workstations.
- Select quieter tools and machinery
There will be no escaping noise in a work environment if its tools and machinery are loud. Consequently, consider investing in quieter tools and machinery to reduce noise. You can substitute existing tools for lower noise options to make your work environment quieter. For example, use electrical tools instead of pneumatic ones and presses instead of hammers. Similarly, select hydraulic presses over mechanical ones and use belt conveyors instead of roller conveyors.
Furthermore, you can stick to a “buy quiet” purchasing and hire policy to reduce noise at work. This policy will involve only purchasing from manufacturers and supplies known for their product’s low-noise design. For instance, it makes sense to purchase axial fans from Ziehl-Abegg if you use these fans to cool your commercial building or industrial facility. Ventilation, control and drive technology From Ziehl-Abegg UK is widely known for its high efficiency, quality, and minimal noise development.
- Add ambient noise
It seems counterintuitive to fight noise with noise. However, this strategy is highly effective if you use the right kinds of white noise. White noise gives workers a calming and consistent sound to focus on while working. As such, they can concentrate better and be less anxious about constant interruptions. White noise works because it is lower and more consistent than intermittent speech, which is more variable in volume and rhythm. Therefore, consider using background sounds like waves crashing on a rocky beach and rainfall to drown out the noise in your office space.