Whether working in a home office or a big office, the focus is essential. You need peace and quiet to do that, and sometimes the environment gives you anything but that. Children, co-workers, construction, and so many other things can break your focus, making your job hard.
If you are dealing with this problem, I have good news for you; you can create your own soundproof office cubicle! This gives you the chance to enjoy some peace without spending too much money.
The good thing is, there are so many options at your disposal, and you can choose the one that fits you, your budget, and your office.
Whether you are looking for a quick DIY fix or something more elaborate that requires professional help, this article is for you.
Ideas on Creating a Soundproof Cubicle
Use Soft Furnishings
Sound echoes are common in most offices featuring solid walls. A great way to reduce this noise is by using furnishings, and not just any furnishings, soft furnishings. Use whatever you have at hand to fill out the blank spaces in your office.
Some of the things you can use include cushions, potted plants, or drapes. These little details can add more cushioning, helping you reduce the sound echo and noise in your office. This option is especially ideal in a home or work office where you have more control over how to arrange your office.
You can also choose to rearrange your office furniture or add things like bookshelves and cabinets. Put the furniture on or near the areas with the most noise production. This gives the noise more surfaces to bounce off, ensuring it dies out quickly.
The use of books and files will be beneficial if you’re seeking for a simple, low-cost option that you can complete on your own. Close to the noise source, pile the books and folders up against the wall. While you’re at it, check to see whether the arrangement looks good.
A carpet is basically a soft, cushioning object that will absorb more sound, reducing the echo and sound reflection. Foot traffic is the source of most unwanted sounds. Lay down a thick, comfy carpet that blends in with your cubicle.
Dense carpets are better than thinner ones as they reflect less sound. A wider carpet is also better as it covers more area. You can use a throw rug, but this covers less space and might not be as effective as something wider.
Using Floor Mats
You can use a combination of rubber floor mats and carpets to quieten the floor. One effective way to use the two is by placing the mat first and then putting the carpet over it.
For the mats to be effective, you need to get thick, dense mats. These absorb more sound than their thinner counterparts and are softer to walk on. Depending on the floor space you are working with, you might need to buy several mats to cover your office.
You can also do this yourself, and it creates a sound-absorbing floor, much like the carpet. Commercial vinyl flooring resembles wood floors, so it can fit in most offices and blend in well with the décor. The floors are also super durable, with some lasting for more than 30 years.
This solution is a good option if you work in an area with little foot traffic because heavy traffic can wear the vinyl down quickly. Look for floors with a good Impact Insulation Class (IIC) to get the best noise reduction. This rating is what determines the type and amount of rubber underlayment.
When purchasing it, you should explain to the salesperson that you want to reduce noise and foot traffic. They can then show you the best kind of vinyl flooring that is perfect for your environment.
Block any Gaps
Sound passes through even the smallest of cracks. Blocking all the gaps, cracks, and corners in the office reduces the chances of noise passing through. You can do this by applying acoustic caulk on the crevices. This helps seal the gaps in the wall, reducing the spaces that sound can get in through.
Another thing you can do is stuff foam or small paper pieces into the gap. Foam is the best option as it takes the shape of the opening, expanding to fill it completely. You can also put the foam at the bottom of the cubicle or your door to completely block out noise.
Install Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels need a bit more money, but they are not that expensive. Ask your boss if you can make these changes or use creative freedom for a home office. You can use hanging acoustic panels or regular acoustic panels.
Hanging acoustic panels are a more effective divider, acting almost like a wall. They create a larger partition and effectively subdue the echo in your surroundings.
You can also install the regular panels, which you can get from amazon. These are mostly soundproof acoustic panels, the same as those used in recording studios. To make them effective, make sure you cover a large amount of office space.
Acoustic panels reduce the echo in the cubicle and effectively absorb outside noise. Though your office won’t be completely soundproof, the panels will significantly reduce the noise, allowing you to work in silence.
You can also use soundproof curtains as they do the same job as hanging acoustic panels. The curtains are less effective, so they are better in the middle to low noise environment. They are easier to install and are pretty affordable.
Something else that can make you consider soundproof curtains is that they are less showy. You can use them in a shared office without distracting your co-workers.
Make sure you get a thick material covering the whole area where you will hang them. Measure the noise entrance area to get the correct height and width.
White Noise Machine or White Noise Fan
Sound conditioners are great at noise reduction. They are not only good for helping you sleep; white noise machines emit a constant, calming noise that enables you to focus better. They also block outside noise, creating a peaceful atmosphere for you to concentrate, allowing you to blur out background noise from your kids or co-workers.
A white noise machine won’t completely block out the noise, but it will create a more work-friendly environment. The good thing is that it does not need any installation; all you do is buy one and find a convenient corner to put it in.
A white noise fan works the same way as the machine, with the added benefit of creating a cool breeze. The constant hum from the fan cancels out annoying sounds. It is also more affordable than the machine and is easy to use.
Using Acoustic Tiles
Acoustic tiles are definitely something you should consider if you work in a super loud area. You can use the tiles on your floor and ceiling, blocking noise from the two noise-generating areas. They stop noise from bouncing off the floor and the ceiling, creating a more subdued environment.
What makes acoustic tiles great is that they are available in different colors. The color variety gives you a broader option, giving you the freedom to get tiles that blend with your office décor.
Raise Cubicle Walls
Extending or raising cubicle walls is one of the most effective methods to reduce noise. You will, of course, need permission from your boss before doing that.
You can get freestanding partition walls on Amazon. They are easy to put up and are super effective. Their downside is that they are quite expensive, but their performance makes up for the price. The walls have a honeycomb pattern which is famously known for its acoustic tendencies.
Change the Layout
Changing your office layout is also another effective method to reduce office noise. It can be tricky if you work in a shared office, but you can do this without a problem if you have your own space.
One way to change the layout is by rearranging the heavier or louder cubicles to a single corner and leaving the quieter ones in a different section. You can also use a sound-absorbing divider to separate the two groups.
This solution works for big offices with a lot of workers. If you work in a smaller setting or your own home office, you can try rearranging your furniture. Put the heavier furniture in areas where they can mute the sound and the lighter furniture in areas where they won’t make much difference.
You can also decide to put all the noisy machines in a separate room. Secluding the noisy machines, like printers and photocopiers, in a different room focuses all the noise in a particular area. This leaves the other working areas free of noise. If there is only one office, place the machines in the noisy cubicle area.
Use Noise Cancelling Headphones
Phones create a lot of noise, especially with several people talking through the phone at once. Getting noise-canceling headphones helps you block out this noise. The headphones are not soundproof, but they help reduce background noise, creating a quieter environment.
The headphones only catch your voice and block out background noises. They are a good option because they work well for you and the person on the receiving end, allowing you to communicate with each other clearly.
Educate Your Co-workers
Maybe your co-workers or family members are not aware of how much noise they create or how it distracts you. Hold a talk with them and find a workable compromise that gives you your peace and doesn’t constrict their freedom.
Find an effective way to talk with them without sounding too harsh. Coming off as intimidating might make them react negatively to your solution, undoing all your efforts. Talk to your co-workers about using headphones, putting their phones on mute, not using speakerphones, and more. Find a solution that works for everyone involved.
Change the Office Phone System
A great technique to lower noise in the office is to upgrade the phone system or convert to headphones. To cut down on the back and forth when speaking over the phone, your company might start utilizing headsets with microphones. A good phone system reduces noise levels, which fosters a better work atmosphere.
There can be multiple noise sources in an office, making concentration hard. Regardless of your office environment, you can find effective ways to create a soundproof office cubicle. Find a solution that you can easily implement and that will not disadvantage others.