Corporate Culture & Productivity

FM Checklist: 4 Ways to Set Up an Office For Employees Who Need Quiet Space

David Spence
July 7th, 2016
facility management quiet spaces office employees

Facility managers can have a profound effect on employee wellness and overall office efficiency by designing a space that addresses the different needs of team members.

Of these working modes, focus work — time in which an employee concentrates on an individual task — is a major driver of productivity. Though it can require some consideration and some shuffling around, there are many ways to achieve a quiet space in the office that can meet the needs of everyone. 

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Take a look at four ways you as a facilities manager can incorporate quiet into your workplace that faciliates productivity and can lead to higher creativity and more effective moments of collaboration. 

1. Find the source

busy street noise

Environmental noises can have an adverse effect on your staff’s work, so a good start to creating quiet spaces is to identify where noise is coming from in the first place.

Whether the source is a chatty team member or a busy street outside, it’ll affect how you proceed in producing a more peaceful work environment. Take note of any loud equipment you may have or areas where sound may leak in because of poor sealing or insulation. 

Simply put, ask your team to point out any distracting environmental sounds. By gaining employee input, you can pinpoint the issues affecting them directly, and create an environment designed for their needs.

You may not be able to address some unavoidable issues, but by reducing the volume as much as you can and listening to your employees needs, will help your staff work more efficiently and happily. 

2. Create physical quiet spaces

physical quiet space laptop couch office

Creating a dedicated physical space is one of the more resource-intensive methods to developing a quieter work environment, but has the potential to be one of the most beneficial. Workers can schedule times to work or meet in these spaces as needed, and productivity can skyrocket.

Dedicated offices and isolated rooms can help employees find the level of comfort they need to focus on their specific tasks. 

In contrast, having shared spaces like kitchen tables, couches or a lounge area can give your team more mobility and spread out the concentration of sound in an office. When considering such changes, be sure to have team discussions to cater the actual issues at hand. 

Send surveys or set up online suggestion boxes to get a feel for what your employees want so you don’t end up creating underused rooms or spaces.

3. Allow more flex schedules

flex time laptop bag

Allowing flex times for your workplace can help reduce the number of people who are in the office at any given time, thereby lowering the amount of ambient chatter.

Allowing your staff the option to work from home gives them the opportunity to create their own quiet and comfortable spaces as they see fit.

This can be a great way to accommodate your team, but make sure you’ve established strong communication tools and practices to avoid any miscommunication or delayed projects.

4. Incorporate tech

headphones sound tech quiet space

Use a speaker system to pump white noise or ambient music into the workplace to help dampen more jarring sounds such as street noise. This can help create a more relaxed mood for your staff. If certain noises are unavoidable, these options can help create a more comfortable environment.

Encouraging the use of headphones in the office can allow employees to fine-tune their acoustic environment to their specific needs.

Creating a peaceful space specific to your employees needs will foster productivity. Understanding the constraints of your space and the expectations of your team are crucial to building an accommodating work environment that your employees will appreciate and be happy with to create a bond of loyalty. 

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Photos: Jeff Sheldon, Jon Flobrant, Tran Mau Tri Tam, Olu Eletu, Álvaro Bernal