Using Office Plants for Noise Reduction
The knowledge that office plants are incredibly beneficial for improved employee health, mood, and productivity is fairly well known. Although employers and workspace managers have always had many reasons to add green plants to their spaces, this new development may be the icing on the cake for office plants, especially for those in open-concept offices – plants provide noise reduction.
Open workspaces and offices are a fairly controversial set-up in today’s working world. The number one issue that has caused such a criticism of these workspaces is they are so loud. Noise, of course, is unavoidable in any office space, as people on phone calls, collaborative team meetings, and vibrating phones do not lead to a particularly quiet office, but the open-concept office offers no buffer for these sounds.
While no office can be completely noise-proofed, there are many ways to reducing the noise level. Construction materials, space layout, and building materials are all things to consider when in the building phase, but what can be done about moving into a preexisting space?
The answer is simple: office plants. Plants have been proven to reduce noise levels in offices in the following ways:
- Sound Deflection – Sound waves hit the plants instead of directly hitting the walls, causing the waves to transform into a different type of energy that may be deflected into different directions.
- Sound Absorption – All of the parts of a plant – roots, leaves, stems, and trunks – all absorb sound. Obviously, the thicker the stems and leaves are, the better it absorbs sound. Plants are able to reduce noise by reducing the levels of reverberation and absorbing vibrations. This method is best observed in offices with many different hard surfaces.
- Sound Refraction – Refraction helps to reduce the amount of echo in sparse spaces. Plant refraction works similarly to how carpeting dampens sound in a home by preventing sound waves from bouncing all over the place.
When placing plants in an office for the purpose of noise reduction, it is best to spread them evenly throughout the space, as clustering them in one area will not produce the desired effect. It is also a good idea to place a smaller plant on employee desks to help reduce the noise levels even further.