Concentrating at work can be difficult when outside conversations are constantly happening. Sound waves travel far – especially in modern open offices – and studies have proven just how detrimental this can be for employee collaboration and productivity.

If you’re looking for a way to create a more comfortable and productive workspace, it’s time to consider installing a sound masking system in your facility.

What is Sound Masking?

Although the concept is new to many people, sound masking has been utilized in offices since the 1960s. In simplest terms, sound masking is a technology that adds ambient background sound to any given space to help mask speech and other noise distractions.

Today’s systems – which have become much more sophisticated over the years – are installed by specially trained professionals in sound masking and acoustics. Modern sound masking systems emit sound that is specifically engineered to match the frequencies of human speech, making the sound very subtle and unnoticeable to most people. Yet, it is enough to make speech unintelligible from 15 or 20 feet away.

How Does Sound Masking Increase Productivity?

Just how distracting is speech when you’re trying to work? According to a study by the Data Management Association, open offices that lack sound masking systems experience a 40 percent loss in productivity and 27 percent more errors.

It’s kind of a no-brainer – when employees are less distracted by noise, they are able to focus better on the task at hand and get more work done.

Sound Masking, Stress, and Productivity

Previously on our sound masking blog, we delved into how the right sound masking system can drastically reduce employee discomfort. But how much of an effect does that ability have on your employee’s productivity? The fact of the matter is that comfort in the workspace and productivity are intrinsically linked—or, at the very least, are stress and poor performance.

According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, “workplace stress reduces employee productivity, increases absenteeism and presenteeism, increases the number of days taken off work for doctor visits, and increases healthcare costs incurred by employers. Workplace stress is also linked to higher accident and injury rates and higher turnover rates.” None of those are good for your team’s efficacy—or your bottom line!

Luckily, you can take plenty of steps to reduce workplace stress, one of them being investing in a sound masking system. By creating peaceful surroundings, making workers feel safe having private conversations, and creating a space where the noise level is changeable, sound masking gives your team more control over their surroundings, allowing for optimal working conditions for all.

Open-Office Plans, Sound Masking, and Productivity

If there’s one office type that can use this tech to benefit from a productivity standpoint, it’s the open-office plan. We discuss exactly how this is so in our sound management blog, but here’s the short version: open-office plans, while inherently collaborative, also have the unfortunate side-effect of being, frankly, loud.

Sometimes, the chatter can grow as noisy as that of a cafeteria—and how can you expect anyone to be productive when there are multiple conversations flowing around them, just begging for participation?

Sound masking puts a lid on all this excess noise. While your workers will still be able to hear nearby conversations—essential for the tight-knit ambiance an open-office plan fosters—those that are far away and irrelevant are muffled, enabling a peaceful, yet still decidedly collaborative atmosphere.

Additional Benefits of Installing a Sound Masking System

When you can’t understand what someone is saying, their words are not only less distracting, but they’re also kept private. Speech privacy is important for many offices, but it is especially critical for businesses like financial institutions and health care facilities that must comply with speech privacy regulations.

Additionally, installing a sound masking system can help companies save money on new construction projects. Workspaces with sound masking systems require less insulation and interior walls, less expensive ceiling tile, and lower partitions.

Finally, when you partner with Building Systems Solutions to get a sound masking system for your facility, we can offer a system that doubles as an emergency warning and paging system – an integral part of any facility’s emergency preparation plan.

Schedule a Demo Today and Embrace Seamless Sound Management

At Building Systems Solutions, we have been passionate about improving other people’s workspaces since 2003. As a regional representative for Soft dB, we offer the only adaptive sound masking system on the market today! The Soft dB Sound Masking System automatically shapes the masking spectrum to match the acoustics of your space.

Need to hear it to believe it? Give us a call at 763-502-1515 to schedule an on-site demonstration.