Think About Your Priorities
First, you need to prioritize. Your primary goal is to increase speech privacy in the office, but you also have a number of secondary goals to consider including:
- Cost – You’re working within a limited budget. How much can you allocate to a sound masking system?
- Maintenance – Do you want a “plug and play” system or one that requires lots of routine upkeep?
- Comfort – Employees need to be comfortable with the system or it will end up being another distraction.
Which of these is most important to you? Could you stretch the budget a little bit to get a better system that’s more comfortable for employees? Of course, these are just examples. You need to think about your personal goals and then prioritize them according to importance.
Know The Difference Between Masking And Blocking Sound
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to approach speech privacy. You can attempt to absorb the sound. You can try to block the sound. Or — and this is what sound masking actually refers to — you can mask the sound. It really matters what you choose here. For example, blocking out sound with walls or partitions isn’t all that helpful in achieving speech privacy. It can also get really expensive. The kinds of materials that are effective at blocking out sound are pricy and installing new walls or partitions requires changing your entire floorplan. If you want speech privacy then sound masking is what you’re really looking for.
Know The Different Types Of Sound Masking
There are two ways to mask sound: direct-field and indirect-field. Direct-field masking involves installing sound emitters on the ceiling It’s typically seen as the preferred choice as it allows sound to be distributed evenly throughout the space. Employees won’t notice any dead spots and pretty much every corner of the office will now allow for private speech.
With indirect-field masking you install the emitters above the ceiling, inside the plenum. This has some negative ramifications. Above your ceiling tiles, there are a lot of structural components that can get in the way of the sound. As a consequence, you don’t get an even blanket of sound throughout the workplace. As employees move throughout the office they will notice the masking noise fading in and out. It’s annoying and it means that some areas of the office will have less speech privacy than others. Indirect-field masking is still effective, but it isn’t the best choice unless you have no other options.
Want more information on how sound masking can increase speech privacy and minimize distractions in the workplace? Please, contact us today at Atlantic Communications. Our team of industry experts will guide you every step of the way from choosing a system to installing it.