Some 80 percent of offices these days are “open” , featuring plenty of glass office fronts, shared workspaces and few private offices. The most common complaints about this popular office design are distractions and the lack of speech privacy, due to having fewer walls and partitions to block sound. Survey after survey reveals that the lack of speech privacy and confidentiality is a major issues, creating employee dissatisfaction among nearly 70% of respondents.
On the other hand, designers and occupants alike give high ratings to natural light allowed by glass office fronts and the unique, creative environments that can be created with them. So how do you get the best of both worlds? Elegant, transparent and collaborative, but still equipped with the ability to maintain acoustical comfort and privacy? A highly effective and economical solution is to install a sound masking system the office space.
Sound masking is the addition of an unobtrusive background sound into an environment that covers up excess noise. Small speakers that emit the sound are placed in the ceiling or mounted to posts, and the background noise makes it such that conversations within a certain range can no longer overheard. Sound masking allows companies to retain their open-office vision and include prolific glass office fronts in the space, while ensuring the environment is still an acoustically comfortable place to work that offers privacy to employees.. As more businesses move to more collaborative and beautiful open spaces that feature glass office fronts, sound masking should continue to be an important part of the design process.