When one thinks of ‘noise’ and its effect on people, the adage “Different strokes for different folks” comes to the mind. There are some who can actually regard a regular din as their creative muse and then again there are some who will only regard the same din as the source of their headache. Essentially, people exist at both ends of the spectrum.

The other day, while travelling I came across a rather interesting conversation between two friends (let’s call them Sameer and Anna). They were discussing their plight at their workspace. The woman was lending a sympathetic ear and the man, who seemed to be the manager at a coworking space, was animatedly talking about his troubles. He clearly belonged to the ‘noise is not my friend’ end of the spectrum. His problem was such that we felt our readers and clientele would also be able to identify with. So, at Team Kowrk, we thought of penning it down for you.

Anna: Hey Sameer! Where is your usual smile today? The frown doesn’t do much for your face!

Sameer: Hi Anna! My smile is wiped clean because of the terrible day I had at my coworking space today.

Anna: But, I thought you loved your coworking space? I know you have taken great pains and put in a lot of hard work to make it a sought after and successful place. So, what happened today?

Sameer:  Yeah, I generally love the atmosphere at my space but today was crazy because some of the members wouldn’t just stop chatting. I could see some of the other members were getting disturbed by the constant chit chat taking place. At one point, I finally had to request them to maintain silence. There didn’t seem to be any other way!

Since that dilemma is experienced by many managers and users of coworking spaces, here is a list of probable solutions from Team Kowrk.

Play white noise

If one can cut out poison with poison, then why not noise with noise? White noise, also called white sound, is basically a steady unobtrusive, unvarying sound, as an electronically produced drone or maybe the sound of rain or lightning or even the sound of crickets, and it is used to cancel out unwanted sounds.

Call for a work sprint

This technique should definitely capture the attention of most coworking spaces. The idea is, when it gets too social, any member can call for a work sprint. And in that timeframe (be it half an hour or more), all members are expected to do focused work with zero socializing. It then gives everyone the chance to accomplish a goal and causes a solid half hour or more of uninterrupted work time!

Send gentle reminders of work etiquette to members

Sending reminders to members about their expected code of conduct is also an idea that can work well. In fact, a poster with the expected code of conduct can also be put at the reception. It might work as a constant, subtle and silent reminder to the members.

Create ‘phone-booths’

Designate some areas where members can go to receive and make calls on their mobile handsets. This can lead to major noise reduction in any workspace.

Involve the members 

Finally, if people still face sound issues then you could possibly look to your community for solutions. Maybe, host a roundtable discussion – you might gain some interesting insight, plus your members will then own (and support) the policy changes.

According to us at Kowrk, these are viable options to the problem of dealing with noise. Let us know what you think of these suggestions.

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