Open office spaces are becoming more prevalent. Cubicle farms still exist, but open spaces that allow more collaboration have become the favored work environment. What does this mean for places that handle secure information, such as banks and other financial institutions? To maintain privacy when dealing with personal information, speech privacy and other sound masking options needs to be implemented.
What Is Speech Privacy? What is speech privacy? It is when listeners, intentional and unintentional, are unable to understand a conversation they are not an active participant in. Without speech privacy, people hear lots of conversations and chances are high that those conversations include personal or secure information that should not be heard by other parties. Speech privacy makes it possible to reduce the amount of intelligible speech throughout a workplace, keeping private and secure information safe.
What Is Sound Masking? What is sound masking? Sound masking includes a series of loudspeakers that are distributed throughout an office or building that raises the ambient noise level in a controlled fashion. Installing sound masking systems helps to control the surrounding noise by raising the ambient noise level. Ambient noise is similar to the sound of a running HVAC system or running water. Having a higher level of controlled ambient noise provides your office or building with speech privacy. Without sound masking it is possible for you to clearly hear conversations as far away as 50 feet. The most common installed sound masking systems are in the ceiling; however, they can be installed under the floor, suspended from a ceiling, or even surface mounted into walls or ceilings. Soundmask Canada and Atlas Sound provide all four systems types for you to choose depending upon the layout of your office space. Atlas Sound has a wide variety of sound masking solutions ranging from small self-contained devices to large enterprise-wide solutions.
How Do You Achieve Speech Privacy? Banks and financial institutions benefit greatly from speech privacy. If your clients feel that their secure information is being compromised, they will take their business elsewhere. So how do you stop that from happening? One way to implement speech privacy is to absorb the sound waves that bounce around the room or office. Acoustical wall panels and ceiling tiles help to absorb sound. Choosing carpet over hard surfaces such as wood or tile helps absorb extra sound as well. Another way to implement speech privacy is to block sound with walls, windows, or partitions. Obstructions like these will break up the sound waves and not allow them to bounce around the office. Another way to implement speech privacy is to use sound masking. Sound masking will help to cover additional noises without causing distractions. If you have have multiple offices within one building that requires a speech privacy solution, you can install a sound masking system that can be customized to your office space. Many systems can be multi-zoned, which means that if you need the level of ambient noise to be increased for the open space office environment without drowning out the individual offices with walls and doors it can be achieved. If you want to schedule the sound masking system to turn on and off at certain times of the day you have that capability too.
Don't confuse sound masking with background music.
Background music can be distracting, especially if you pick up on the song that is playing, which can remove your focus from the task at hand. Sound masking implements ambient white noise, which can provide the appropriate level of ambient noise to allow you to focus on your task and not the conversation across the room. You may be able to hear that a conversation is happening, such as hearing voices, but you won't be able to discern the content being discussed, which helps to diminish your distractions. Working with a professional systems integrator that understands the importance of speech privacy to you and your clients will help you implement the best solution for your speech privacy needs.
If you're looking to improve your overall privacy and efficiency in the workplace, please give us a call and we can help.