The incredible sound quality provided by modern VOIP calls has been commented on many times. The internet is now capable of conveying sound at as high or higher quality than landline telephones with no loss in detail along the way. However, just as HD tv allows you to see the pores of actors, high-quality phone calls suddenly reveal just how noisy your office really is.
Surely, you’ve heard the hum of fans and the murmur of coworkers on a call when another caller opens their mic to speak. No doubt, that same kind of office background noise can be heard on many professional calls. The good news is that there are several ways to reduce the background noise in VOIP calls without making the office a ‘quiet zone’. Here’s how:
1) Hand Out Quality Headsets
First, get every employee who makes VOIP calls on a nice headset with a good quality microphone. The headsets will ensure two things. First, that employees aren’t using their speakers to hear calls, adding to the noise and potential for call-echo. Second, a good quality microphone will be better at picking up only the speaker’s voice without picking up every rustle of paper or keyboard clack in a shared office space.
2) Reduce Fan Noise
Fan noise is a serious problem in office, big or small. The sound of your HVAC or the box fans you use to keep cool in spite of the HVAC can have a hugely negative effect on your call audio quality. That hum and rattle can be heard on an open mic and can make an entire conference call less pleasant. Do everything you can to reduce the noise fans make in rooms where calls occur.
This might involve repairing or updating your HVAC fans, replacing or cleaning your floor fans, or replacing noisy fans with modern quieter versions of same. Loud printers fall under the same rule.
3) Make Use of Noise Reduction Panels
Noise reduction panels are attractive pieces of wall art or subtly integrated pieces of furniture designed for offices to soak up that ambient sound. noise reduction uses a combination of foam and fabric to ‘catch’ noises as they pass and muffle them so that they cannot be heard at a distance. They can be used to create privacy, quiet spots, and simply to reduce the amount of noise that travels from one section of the office to the other. The more you decorate or build with noise reduction panels, the quieter your office can potentially become.
4) Hold Calls in Quiet Offices
If calls are an occasional but not constant feature in your office, then providing quiet offices may be enough. Allow employees to book or borrow the spare quiet rooms available in your office so that they can hold their occasional calls and conferences in audio privacy. This way, the murmur of coworkers or the hum of big-room HVAC vents will not reduce the quality of their calls.
5) Provide ‘Cone of Silence’ Desk Hutches
If you have an open workspace full of employees who are constantly making calls (or don’t have spare quiet offices) then an interesting alternative is to build sound-privacy hutches out of noise reduction panels. These hutches can even fold away and then be brought out when it’s time to make a call. Essentially, these hutches act as portable ‘cones of silence’ so that when an employee pops their head into the hutch, suddenly office noise is reduced and they are audibly alone with the call.
6) Fluffy Plantlife
Finally, never discount the value of fluffy plants. Cubicle hedgerows, walls of flowering vines, and other office greenery are great ways to absorb sound. Plants not only make people happy and improve the air quality, the fluffy leaves also catch sound and prevent it from wandering too far across the room. In combination with noise reduction panels, you might be surprised how quiet an open workspace can become.
Improving the audio quality of VOIP calls is about much more than bandwidth. By mastering the ambient noise in your office, you can ensure that every employee can make crystal-clear calls with their new VOIP numbers without offending or deafening their contacts with background sounds. For more VOIP insights on how to optimize unified communications for your business, contact us today!