In today’s fast-paced office environments, particularly in open-plan setups, noise distractions have become a significant concern for employees and employers. Despite the intent to foster collaboration, open offices often result in a cacophony of conversations, phone calls, and equipment noise. According to a survey by Oxford Economics, 63% of workers say that a lack of quiet spaces impacts their productivity. As office managers like Sarah Johnson strive to create a more productive workplace, it’s crucial to understand the most common employee complaints about office noise and how to address them effectively.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the five most common employee complaints about office noise, how to address them effectively, and how iSpace Office Interiors can help by providing tailored acoustic and private office solutions, to improve productivity and employee well-being.

At iSpace Office Interiors, we recognize that employee satisfaction and well-being are integral to a thriving workplace. Our tailored solutions are designed with these values in mind, ensuring a productive and positive environment for your team.

1. Distracting Conversations

One of the most frequent complaints among employees is the distracting conversations around them. Whether it’s casual chats between colleagues or impromptu meetings in open spaces, these interruptions can be highly disruptive. Employees find it challenging to concentrate and often end up stressed or frustrated because of it. Research shows that conversations, particularly when overheard but not directly involved, are among the most distracting forms of office noise.

Designate Quiet Zone:

To tackle this, consider introducing designated quiet zones with restricted conversations and phone calls. These areas provide employees with a focused environment in which to work without interruption. Additionally, installing acoustic panels and screens can absorb sound and reduce noise transmission. Noise-canceling headphones are another effective solution, helping employees create their “bubble of silence.”

Looking to improve productivity and reduce noise distractions? Contact iSpace Office Interiors to design quiet spaces that keep your team focused.

2. Office Equipment Noise

Another common complaint relates to office equipment noise. Printers, shredders, and photocopiers are essential office tools, but their sounds can be distracting, especially close to workstations. The constant hum, beeping, and rattling can lead to frustration and reduced productivity.

Soundproof Panel:

Installing soundproof panels and screens around noisy equipment is an effective way to contain the sound. Alternatively, relocating office equipment to designated utility rooms away from focused work zones can help minimize disruptions.

3. Loud Phone Calls and Video Conferences

In the age of remote work and hybrid meetings, phone calls and video conferences have become commonplace in open-plan offices. However, colleagues speaking on speakerphones or holding video conferences without headphones can be highly disruptive to others nearby. Employees struggle to maintain concentration due to the constant noise and distractions, leading to stress and decreased productivity.

Sound Proof Phone Booth:

Installing soundproof phone booths and meeting pods can provide private spaces for calls and meetings, reducing noise pollution in open offices. Implementing noise etiquette guidelines that encourage the use of headphones during calls, limit loud conversations, and ensure privacy in shared spaces can also be beneficial.

loud coworker talking on phone
sound proof room in office

4. Foot Traffic and Door Slamming

High foot traffic near entry points and frequent door slamming create constant interruptions, making it difficult for employees to focus. Those stationed near corridors and entry points often need help with these disruptions, leading to frustration and reduced productivity.

Soft-Close Mechanism Solution for Doors:

Restructuring the office layout to minimize foot traffic near focused work zones can make a significant difference. Installing soft-close mechanisms on doors to prevent slamming can further reduce distractions.

5. General Ambient Noise

Background noise from HVAC systems, construction, and even typing can become irritating. Research suggests that annoying noises tend to affect physiological arousal. Persistent ambient noise leads to higher stress levels and reduced productivity, particularly among noise-sensitive employees.

White Noice Machine Solution:

Implementing sound masking systems that produce consistent background noise can blend with ambient sounds to minimize distractions. Getting your office white noise machines for employees who need extra focus can also help.

Moreover, there are alternative solutions that seamlessly blend color with noise reduction. Feel free to discover the 7 solutions in our previous article. Elevate your office environment with cutting-edge sound masking technology.

How to Deal with Office Noise: Practical Solutions

Acoustic Solutions

Acoustic panels, screens, and ceiling tiles are excellent tools for absorbing and reducing noise in the office. Acoustic panels can be installed on walls or as freestanding barriers, while ceiling tiles and baffles reduce noise from above. These solutions improve acoustics and add aesthetic value to the office.

Sound Masking Systems

Sound masking involves emitting a consistent background covering distracting noises, making focusing easier. Placing speakers throughout the office ensures uniform coverage, and adjusting the masking sound level to blend with ambient noise makes it more effective.

employee working in quiet office corner to avoid distractions
man working in a quiet space at work

Designing Quiet Spaces

In open-plan offices, it is crucial to create designated quiet zones where employees can work without distractions. Implementing strict noise policies and acoustic treatments ensures these zones remain productive sanctuaries. Soundproof phone booths and meeting pods offer private spaces for calls and meetings, reducing noise pollution.

Office Layout Redesign

Separating collaborative and quiet areas is essential in managing office noise. Collaborative zones can accommodate team discussions, brainstorming sessions, and impromptu meetings, while focused work zones should have minimal noise disruptions. Optimizing traffic flow ensures high-traffic areas like corridors and entry points do not disturb quiet zones.

If you’re curious about the challenges of space planning for small offices, be sure to check out our previous blog.

Noise Etiquette Policies

Educating employees about noise pollution and encouraging mindfulness regarding their noise levels can foster a quieter work environment. Clear guidelines addressing conversations, phone calls, and meetings promote a consideration culture.

Personal Sound Management Tools

Providing high-quality noise-canceling headphones helps employees create a quiet environment. Personal white noise machines can also help employees focus, particularly in noisy environments.

Ready to create a quieter, more productive office environment? Get a Quote from iSpace Office Interiors today to transform your workspace with tailored noise solutions.


Office noise can significantly impact employee productivity and well-being if not managed effectively. Office managers like Sarah Johnson can create a more productive and stress-free work environment by understanding the most common complaints and implementing practical solutions like acoustic panels, sound masking systems, and noise etiquette guidelines.

Suppose you’re an office manager in Indianapolis seeking effective office solutions. In that case, iSpace Office Interiors can help with space planning, interior design & office remodeling, ergonomic analysis, private offices, conference rooms, and more. Send us a message or call (317) 666-9562 today to create a quiet, productive, and collaborative workspace!

Moreover, iSpace Office Interiors elevates your workspace, helping you ditch distractions and boost productivity. Our state-of-the-art sound masking technology ensures privacy and enhances team focus. Do you have any noise complaints in your office? Please share them in the comments below!