How to soundproof your Cubicle | Complete Guide

How to soundproof your Cubicle

The working environment always plays a major role in overcoming the challenges that are faced during work. Some jobs require working in a cubicle, and people must be aware of the challenges they face when working in such type of an office setting.

The cubicle might have different problems like it could be a little tight and cramped. All these issues and challenges certainly have value, but in the end, the biggest issue that one might have regarding cubicle is the noise factor.

All types of sounds are able to infiltrate in your cubicle space as the place above you is open, and the walls are also thin. Other noises that can be extremely distracting are the chatter and gossips of your co-workers, telephones, fax machines, printers, and various other sounds.

I belong to Sweden, and the work environment in Sweden is somewhat different than the rest of the world. There are a few differences that separate us like the boss or the senior management never has a separate room in the office; in fact, he has a cubicle like the rest of the workers. So the offices are mostly one big hall with several cubicles. Therefore, the noise or sound affects everyone, including the senior management that sits among the other workers.

No doubt, constant noise has a lot of effects on people, and they keep on working to find solutions to this problem. As an individual, I look for ways and solutions to resolve the issues related to noise. I do not represent any company or organization but find products that match your needs and have quality also.

Constant noise effects

Apart from the hearing damage, exposure to constant and excessive noise can cause various health problems. These problems include stress, poor concentration, loss of productivity in the workplace, and difficulties in communication. Various other effects of noise include:

  • Headache

  • Elevated Blood Pressure

  • Fatigue

  • Anger

  • Digestive disorders

  • Increased susceptibility to minor infections

How to reduce noise in the cubicle

Several strategies can be employed by you during work to minimize the disruptive sounds that actually travel into your cubicle, so you can create an environment that is relatively quieter and more conducive to work. These tips can help you reduce both airborne and structural sound in the workplace.

It is worth noting that before you make use of any of these tactics, you have to make sure to check in with the powers that be, i.e. your boss or office manager, so it can be ensured that there aren’t any rules or regulations in place that bars or restricts you from using certain strategies for soundproofing.

  • Sound Absorbing Floors

Hard flooring surfaces like the ceramic tiles or hardwood floors are sometimes troublesome within a working setup. The reason for such an environment is the constant noise that is echoing, which is produced by these floors, especially when a person takes a walk on then wearing heels.

To make your cubicle a quieter place for work, there are options that will certainly be helpful to reduce noise:

    • Vinyl flooring

Nowadays, there are many companies that install vinyl flooring that resembles wooden floors. This is a commercial grade vinyl floor and not the one that was in use in the old times that was totally different from the one present in the market.

Diflart vinyl plank

This engineered vinyl plank is a segment of luxury vinyl flooring. It has an incredibly realistic hardwood look and is also very durable. It is great at reducing noise, is waterproof, and has a strong high-density fiberboard core.

It has vastly become one of the most popular commercial options in the market. It has a softer surface than other flooring materials at a very affordable price. Combining the look of wood and the durability of vinyl, it is an ideal solution to reduce noise in the working place, especially cubicles.

    • Carpeting

Carpet installation is another way that can help reduce office noise significantly. You have to make sure not only to place a rug in the cubicle, but it should be installed in the entire office as the people walking by for work purpose make the noise.

Cleverbrand Neoprene Carpet Role

Neoprene is quite a versatile material. You would be surprised how much difference it makes and is one of the best among the soundproof flooring materials. Neoprene is similar to EVA foam but is a bit spongier. It has a great tendency to absorb impact noise.

Though any carpet is useful in reducing noise, it makes up for its lack of thickness in its density. Much like vinyl, to install it, you simply have to unroll it. It doesn’t need to be secured as the weight of the floor will be enough to keep it flat.

  • Hanging fabric on the walls

This is one of the most affordable ways to soundproof a cubicle as you can easily hang thick fabric on the walls. It is worth noting that this solution is most effective in a working environment that has low or medium amounts of noise, yet it might not provide the desired results.

The fabric certainly helps to reduce the echoes as the reverberations are minimized. This will be helpful in decreasing the transmission of certain frequencies. Using thick materials is an ideal choice, such as curtains or blankets that are good for soundproofing.

Guilford of Maine Sona Acoustical Fabric

Guilford manufactures an acoustically transparent cloth, available in 12 colors, and is fire rated. Its weave and 255 thread counts per inch, not even sound and air, but also mask the material it covers. This fabric is mostly used for speaker grills and works good diffusers, bass traps, and acoustic panels. The fabric is acoustically transparent, so it is non-reflective, and all the sound passes through. Looking at the office environment, it’s fire-resistant also, and nothing should happen to it from a one-foot far flame.

  • Gap filling

There are certain gaps and cracks on most cubicle walls. You can imagine that it is very easy for sound to travel easily through these open spaces. It is very important to make sure that these gaps and cracks are filled so that the unwanted noise can be blocked out.

Green Glue noise proofing sealant

This noise proofing sealant is used to fill the gaps and joints where walls meet the floor or the ceiling or where two walls meet. It can also be helpful with outlets and switch boxes. This sealant is very easy to install and is paintable after drying. Green Glue sealant is the physical touch that is required after using noise proofing compound. The sealant reduces the transmission of noise beyond what is already accomplished with the compound. It is non-hazardous, has no odor and resists drying out or cracking up with age. After getting tested by various laboratories, it has fire safety and minimum impact on the environment. This makes Green Glue live up to the expectations of the customers.

  • Pick softer types of furniture.

To get rid of the unwanted sound, a certain type of furniture should be selected for the office like enclosed booths and high backed couches. Furniture that is made of softer material should be applied in and around the office cubicles.

Couches and lounge chairs, wall partitions, and filing cabinets made up of non-metal can help in absorbing noise is all sorts in an office environment that is open space. Most of the offices with cubicles do have large open spaces.

It is a very wise choice to avoid office furniture with hard and jagged shapes because they will be very helpful in making an echo in your workspace. With a softer type of furniture, on the other hand, there will be a lot less noise that will bounce around from one area of the wall to the other.

  • Privacy door

If you want to have a quiet environment in the workplace, the open-door policy which is maintained in most of the offices has got to be reviewed. Though sometimes it is important to keep the doors open, yet a tremendous amount of noise travels through these openings.

You can consider installing a privacy door to combat some of the obtrusive sounds. There are a few options available that include swing or sliding doors. While installing these doors, this is to be made sure that the door fits the opening.

Spectrum VS3280H Folding door

It is a solid vinyl panel door with flexible vinyl hinges to stop the draft. It is pre-assembled and pre-finished; it could be used as a double door or as two single doors. It is an attractive and cost-effective solution for all the privacy needs in the office, thus reducing the noise. This door fits 24 inches to 36 inches and a height of 80 inches. The price is reasonable, and the door looks good when installed.

  • Heighten the dividers

Complete sound blockage in the office cubicles is no doubt a task that is impossible. One thing we can do to improve this by heightening the dividers between the cubicles. The higher the divider, the better noise insulation it would provide in the office cubicle.

In many offices, the extensions are added to the already existing noisy cubicle dividers, though this is not possible in all work environments. If one is unable to extend the current setup, then it can be a better option to buy some room partition dividers.

S Stand Up Desk Store ReFocus Acoustic Room Dividers

These premium quality dividers absorb 85% sound that passes through them, and this helps in providing a quiet workspace. These partitions can be used individually or together. These dividers are environment friendly and versatile as the zippered connection of these wall dividers can flex. This can help you to wrap the panels around the desk cluster or can create a quiet area for a meeting.

  • Plants for noise isolation

Certain types of plants you can have in and around the cubicle that are capable of doing a better job at absorbing sound. Peace lily, rubber plants, and weeping figs are some of the best plants that you can have in the office to combat noise.

    • Peace Lily

The Peace Lily’s leaves are glossy and wide enough that is able to absorb sound waves adequately. It is an unusual ability to blossom in medium light. Its white flower changes to pale green in 10 days then remain this way for a month. It is an indoor plant and should be placed away from direct sunlight and cold temperatures. It is best to have it by the window if one is lucky to have it besides.

Amplex Spathiphyllum Peace Lily

    • Rubber Plants

The rubber plants are also very wide & thick emerald green leaves that absorb the noise. These are also sensitive to sunlight like Peace Lily, but they do thrive in a bright environment. It’s placement in well-draining & air-potting soil is important.

In a reasonably sized pot, they can easily grow to be around three feet in height and two feet in width. They have the ability to provide plenty of indoor acoustic shelter and are particularly popular as a typical office plant due to the fact that they have low maintenance.

9 Seeds Ficus Elastica Rubber Tree (Rubber Plant) by Seeds and Farms

    • Weeping Fig

This plant has broad and pointy leaves that are usually patterned. The weeping fig has arching branches that subdue the sound efficiently. It is easy to grow and also remarkably good at purifying the air due to its leaves that are dense and large.

Various pollutants can also be purified by the weeping fig-like xylene, toluene, and formaldehyde. It is better to place it in a shaded, sunny spot; they have glossy leaves that are likely to fall on the ground, so it is preferred not to be moved around.

Wintergreen Weeping Fig tree by Hirts

  • Noise-canceling headphones

It is a good idea to invest in a high-quality pair of noise-canceling headphones so that the unwanted sounds that drift into the cubicle can be drawn out. If other techniques haven’t yielded the desired results, using noise-canceling headphones can be an ideal solution.

Noise-canceling headphones are of various types. Some have the ability to pair with the Bluetooth and enable hands-free calling. These features help in accessing your favorite music that you desire during the relaxation time in the work environment.

Sony noise-canceling headphones

The Sony noise-canceling headphones are industry-leading headphones that give a personalized and virtually soundproof experience. The built-in mic enables you to take hands-free calls. It contains voice assistant, quick attention mode, and smart listening that adjusts the ambient sound to your activity that gives you noise cancellation. It is comfortable to wear, has touch controls, and long battery life that gives a great noise-canceling experience for the individuals working in an office environment.

  • Using a white noise machine

Although the white noise machine is mostly utilized to aid in individuals’ sleeping throughout the night, you can also make use of them for soundproofing objectives of the work area. It is an effective way to drown out the chatter, clicking, footsteps & other noises that drift into a cubicle.

Yogasleep Dohm Original white noise machine by Marpac

It is being used since 1962; this model features fan-based natural white noise and has soothing ambient sounds of rushing air without disturbing moving air. Its sound experience can be customized that makes it simple to create a personalized environment for sound, has excellent ability to mask background noise, which allows better sleep.

  • Provide loud spaces

Rather than creating sound and noise in the work area, the organizations could additionally mark areas around the office that could encourage discussion and interaction among the employees. This will help people working in cubicles stay relaxed and calm.

There are lunch areas, recreation rooms, or even phone rooms that can help the staff members to communicate with each other than during work at their desks because those are moments to stay quieter. So if you intend to take part in the discussion, there are areas dedicated to this.

Tiny sections can also be provided to employees that contain telephones. These sections could encourage the employees to make phone calls without disturbing other workers that try to concentrate on the cubicles that are already noisy.

An acoustic telephone both could be included in the office to make it available for use for private telephone calls. These office phone booths are soundproof and provide a peaceful place in co-working spaces. They are also fully equipped with all types of gadgets that are required.

KNTECH RF-14 Acoustic Telephone Hood

This telephone hood is suitable for industrial premises or commercial locations like shops and offices that are designed to fit all types of mounted phones. The small phones can also be mounted directly onto the back wall of the hood. It is manufactured in glass reinforced plastic and has a good ability to reduce noise when the workers are communicating on the phone.

  • Attach acoustic panels

Noise and buzz prevention from the rest of the office is very important. The walls are actually the biggest part of the cubicle office that represents the greatest of the problems in solving another problem that is far bigger; it is called noise.

Acoustic panels are something that you can easily do on your own and is not that expensive either. These are sponge-like blocks of material that can be easily attached to the walls; most of the people can attach these acoustic panels by themselves.

Blue/Char Soundproofing Foam Wedge Acoustic Wall Panels by Ocean Blue Co

This acoustic foam is great for treating sound on walls in the office cubicle. It is also helpful for recording studios, control rooms and concert halls, etc. It has the ability to dampen and diffuse mid to low frequency sound waves to minimize noise interference. This helps to increase sound clarity in a room or an office space. These panels eliminate standing sound waves and flutter echoes; this way, and they reduce unwanted reflections. The office professionals use them to acoustically treat walls or ceilings also, which are quite common nowadays, especially if the ceiling is not parallel to the floor. They are a great and inexpensive way to clear the noise in the cubicle, thus great for spot treating sound on the walls of the office or the studio.

  • Raise awareness and educate employees that use cubicles

For an employer is struggling with noise problems within the office cubicles, the first thing he should do is to have all the employees meet and discuss the issue. No doubt, some of the office issues can be resolved by instructing and better educating employees regarding office etiquette.

    • The first and most important thing to be discussed is no talking policy; this only allows people to whisper in the cubicle portion of the office. Many successful businesses have this rule & it does work quite well and quickly becomes easy for everyone to adopt.

    • Having a room setup that is separate from the cubicle area as the conference call room is a better idea. This room could also be used if you need to make a call using a speakerphone. Many offices have used this technique quite successfully.

    • No chatting should be allowed over the cubicles. Sometimes, no matter what you do on your end to minimize noise, there are a few people in the office who are excessively disruptive and noisy. Better to mention this to HR so that the team could send a warning.

    • Have your staff learn the sign language & get this enforced to everyone so that they use this way to talk to each other. When you follow these steps, you will be able to minimize as much sound as possible while help block sound within your personal workplace.

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