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Office Confidential: six ideas for reducing noise and increasing privacy

From top-secret briefings, to somewhere to take sensitive calls, many modern offices are lacking in spaces fit for private – or just quiet – work. The good news: there are lots of quick fixes you can put in place right now.
Add a booth

If you’ve got some extra space in the office, it’s worth considering small ‘phone booths’ that can be used for important calls, sensitive video briefings or other private conversations with people off-site. They hardly take up any room: as long as power and networking points are nearby, they’re easy to get up-and-running.
Make a (white) noise

When conversations from across the office are making it hard to concentrate, consider trying out a sound masking system.

This isn’t science-fiction or whimsical new-age nonsense – it’s a popular technology used in many offices. Sound masking works by playing an almost unnoticeable noise in the background.

The effect: phone calls and face-to-face conversations carry on as before – but your colleagues will find it easier to concentrate… and conversations over 4.5 metres away become either impossible to hear or much less intrusive.
Think outside the office

If you have an office restaurant, bistro or coffee area, you could add a small number of semi-enclosed booths – think of the seating you’d find in an American diner, but with tall dividing panels or walls separating each one.

These can be great for informal briefings and meetings that need some privacy – but not locked doors, drawn blinds, and blood-curdling non-disclosure agreements for all in attendance