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How to Keep Up With the Evolving Office Environment

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Friday, December 09, 2016

Today, the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) make up a staggering 33% of the American workforce. And considering Millennials tend to have very different expectations and requirements when it comes to their workplaces than previous generations, employers across the country have found themselves needing to revamp their workspaces and employment models to appeal to this large group of workers. Specifically, Millennials tend to have a strong preference for jobs where they can participate in comfortable, creative, and collaborative environments. As a result, "traditional" workspaces with divided cubicles and separate offices have begun to fall by the wayside in favor of more open work environments.

Open Quiet and Fostering Privacy in Open Work Spaces

Specifically, the concept of "open quiet" workspaces has become increasingly popular among companies looking to employ Millennial workers. Open quiet spaces are designed to encourage collaboration and interaction by implementing "desking" as opposed to cubicles. Many employers also find that “hoteling” within office space is less expensive, since they can get more use out of less square footage.

Still, open quiet workplaces are not without their challenges. With workers sharing the same open space, conversations and other miscellaneous noise can become distracting. For starters, there is still an importance in creating workspaces that have a certain degree of quiet and privacy. After all, this is required by both HIPAA and GLBA regulations. Furthermore, studies have found that the average worker needs between 15 and 20 minutes to "recover" and refocus after being distracted by noise in the workplace.

Fortunately, acoustic enhancements such as sound masking can be an effective strategy for ensuring privacy in open work spaces while encouraging collaboration and productivity.

Sound Masking: What Is It and How Can It Help?

Specifically, sound masking refers to the introduction of ambient, unobtrusive background noise into an open workspace. This can be done through the use of speakers built into the ceiling or strategically placed sound sources throughout the space itself. Sound masking equipment can be adjusted to suit the unique size, layout, and needs of any space. Generally, the effects of sound masking are found to be most effective when the "white noise" produced by the system is about three decibels louder than everyday workplace sounds.

There are typically two main types of sound masking set-ups. One involves having speakers built directly into the ceiling of the space, thus directing sound down into the workspace itself. The other involves placing speaker sources above the acoustical ceiling tile – hidden from the occupant. In this situation, the speakers fill the plenum with noise that filters down uniformly into the space below. Either of the two options has been found to be effective, resulting in a number of benefits, such as:

  • improved efficiency and output (up to 20% on average)
  • reduced employee stress
  • more comfortable workspaces

Sound Masking Solutions From Lencore

At Lencore, we provide the quality sound masking equipment your workspace needs to achieve not only speech privacy, but comfort in the workplace as well. Whether you're dealing with an open workspace that's a few hundred or a few million square feet, we can work to come up with a uniquely-tailored solution to suit your needs. We offer both networked and non-networked sound masking systems that will help improve employee productivity, comfort, privacy, and overall job satisfaction—particularly among Millennial workers.

Make the most of your workspace with sound masking from Lencore. Contact us today to find out more about our offerings or to request a demo; we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you better understand how sound masking can transform your work environment.