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Noise in Call Centers and Open Plan Offices - November 2010


Many business and call centers take the open-plan option when developing office space. There are many advantages to this approach, but there are disadvantages too. Noise is the most serious problem in open plan areas, so dealing with it at source (usually a loud employee) is the best approach.

We have a number of products that will help to reduce the noise levels, from a computer based personal noise alert system to wall mounted noise signs.


Open Plan - The Benefits

Open PlanThere are a number of benefits of open plan offices and call centers, otherwise they would not be so popular. The most obvious benefit is reduced cost to the employer, due to the reduction in space used and more economical (and environmentally friendly) heating and lighting schemes.

There are many other benefits too. Each employee may be considered part of a team, and the members of that team need to work together. An open plan layout allows for better communication and makes the task of the supervisor easier too.

The open plan approach also offers greater flexibility for dynamic and growing businesses. Changes to the office layout are quick and inexpensive.


Office NoiseNoise Problems

Unfortunately, one of the biggest drawbacks of open plan offices is NOISE. The noise levels are not likely to be high enough to cause damage to hearing, but are often enough to cause stress, irritation and time off work.

The situation can be eased by reducing staff density, introducing white noise to mask the background sound, and by introducing sound absorbing and blocking materials.

The background noise level for an open plan office will usually be around 55 dB(A), rising to around 62 dB(A) for a call center. These levels are not too unpleasant, but one or two exuberant employees can make life difficult.

Having to constantly remind people to keep the noise levels down can cause embarrassment and bring about confrontations.


SoundEar-VSoundEar-V Computer Based Monitoring

The SoundEar-V is a small sound level meter that plugs into a computer's USB port and reports the sound levels on the screen. When the level is too high a warning is displayed.

When the noise levels are too high a window pops up on the screen as a reminder.

The software stores the sound level every second, presenting it in a simple graphical format. This makes it possible to identify the noisier times of the day.

More information about the SoundEar-V


Noise Warning Signs

Noise Warning SignsWe have a range of noise warning signs that mount on the wall and light up when the noise levels are too high. A trigger level is set on the back of the sign, usually between 55 and 65 dB(A) for office and call center use.

The most suitable sign for your application depends on its exact use and how well the sign will fit in with your environment.

SoundEar Noise Warning Sign SoundEar Noise Warning Sign
Wall mounted sign with adjustment in 5dB steps. Data logging option.
NoiseSign Noise Warning Sign "Noise Sign" Noise Warning Sign
Wall mounted sign with adjustment in 1dB steps. Data logging option.
SoundAlert Noise Warning System SoundAlert with External Sign
A wall or desk mounted sound level meter with optional external bright display sign. Adjustable trigger level. This sign has no data logging option

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