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7 Steps Soundproof A Cubicle Recipe | To Do List

soundproof a cubicle effectively

If I have to recall, it was the year 2009, I was working with an MNC as a software engineer. I hope you would be aware of the cubicle arrangement at an IT park. It's really dense and you definitely need space to even make a call to your spouse or loved ones. There are very few lucky chaps who get a closed office room. Unfortunately, I wasn't the one.

Every day I used to get distracted while attending calls with clients, working on coding, preparing a presentation and so on.

Seriously, Guys, I started blaming myself that I lack the skill of managing things effectively in a noisy atmosphere.

[Also Read]: Best Quiet Propane Generators

"Soundproof a cubicle" is not as easy as it sounds. I have tried a lot many times to reduce the nonsense going around my cubicle but unfortunately, it was a total failure.

Still, I don't know about the secrets of my colleagues who were managing everything quite easily.

Maybe, if I would have stayed there for a few more years, things could have been normal for me also.

Did I try to soundproof my cubicle?

Yes, I used to search on the internet and then used to buy the stuff and put it in my cubicle, assuming some miracle will happen.

No miracle happened. I wasn't successful at all.

Fast forward... 8 years.

Now, I have many clients who have been successful in cubicle noise reduction.

Here, the point that I am trying to make is not that today I am successfully able to guide my clients but the point is "Why I failed time and again?".

Important learning from my mistakes:

  • I neither did any research or observation to figure out the top 5 sound disturbance source.
  • I never did any research on the product, rather I randomly picked up the product and placed it in my cubicle, expecting a miracle to happen.
  • Reality vs Expectation, I was expecting my cubicle to be 100 percent soundproof which by far is next to impossible.
  • Lack of strategy and knowledge about the 'soundproof a cubicle'.
Before we discuss, what would have been a better approach?

Let's accept a few facts about soundproof a cubicle. You don't have many options and you have to play very smartly with the available options.

Though the options are countable on fingers still a significant cubicle noise reduction can be achieved.

It's impossible to soundproof a cubicle hundred percent. When it comes to soundproof an open space, you have to make the best use of limited bandwidth.

Even before I start working on a project such as soundproof a cubicle, I ask my client to complete the task from "To Do List".

To Do List For Soundproof A Cubicle

To Do List for soundproof a cubicle

Step 1: This step includes observation and preparing list. I generally advise my clients to observe for 15 days duration and jot down all the source of the noise. Of course, It can be any source that you want to completely or partially irradicate.

Step 2: Once you are done with step 1. Set the priority to these source of the noise.

Step 3: Start researching for the products or accessories that can help you to eradicate the problem.

Step 4: Make a list of all the products that you think that can help you. For every product, ask a question to yourself, "How and why this product will help me with cubicle noise reduction?".

At times, this step has proved to be confusing for my clients, in order to save your time, you can try these cost-effective and time taste products.

  1. Office Rugs
  2. Green Glue
  3. Room Divider (Highly Recommended)
  4. Soundproof Curtains
  5. Headset (Recommended)
  6. White Noise Machines
  7. Soundproof Wallpapers
Step 5: Plan a strategy and put these products in use. You have to take a decision on whether you want to extend the height of your cubicle or change your cubicle. I have found in many cases that by merely changing the cubicle lots of problem-related to noise reduction are solved.

Step 6: After applying the above 5 steps, wait for 2 weeks to see a significant cubicle noise reduction.

Step 7: In case you are not satisfied with the outcome, then re-examine step 1 and follow the next step accordingly.

I call it, "7 Steps Soundproof A Cubicle Recipe" and trust me, Guys, It has a success rate of more than 83.7 percent.

There have been some exceptional cases when this recipe has not performed better.

Things You Need To Consider, When Soundproof A Cubicle

1. Don't Ignore Your Furniture Voice

I know you must be thinking that what am I blabbering, right? How can furniture speak? Let me tell you one thing, the type of furniture you use in your office plays a crucial role in the overall cubicle noise reduction. If the furniture is made up of the surface which is hard and angular, then it will add to the echo. These hard surface of the furniture reflect back almost all the noise that is bouncing from the wall, ceiling or floor.

What's the solution?

The best thing you can do is to replace the hard furniture with soft furniture. Soft furniture is good at absorbing noise and thus, a good solution for the sound echo.
But, here is a catch, don't expect a significant sound reduction by simply replacing your furniture or a couple of furniture from the office.

For a significant outcome, almost all the furniture should be the soft ones.

Trust me, it's a costly affair. If you are good at negotiating with your boss or if you are the in charge of the furniture, then things will fall on place.

In most of the cases, the authority responsible for the furniture will not go with your suggestion. If they agree also, its a time-consuming process.

What's the best possible solution?

Add some soft furniture and things like cushion, drapes or potted plants. Adding things that are good at absorbing sound will be very effective.

Depending upon the space, you can also try soundproof wallpapers. If you can figure out the place responsible for noise, then soundproof curtains can do the needful.

2.Block The Hole

Needless to say, the hole will allow the noisy sound to enter your cabin. At times, you would have closed the holes that are visible to you using acoustic caulk, but there can be holes which aren't visible to you. In that case, the best option is to put the strip of foam at the bottom of the cubicle table.

You have to keep a track of the holes as it may develop over a period of time because of numerous reasons.

3. Effectively Use Soundproof Foam Panels

It's good to use foam panels but it's better to use these panels effectively. Definitely, it has some cost associated and you have to either convince or negotiated with your boss to get the approval. Even though your boss isn't ready, you can spend this small amount from your pocket for this value for money product.

Most of the studios use it for noise reduction. You can order it online and get it delivered to your office. While ordering the product, don't forget to check for the density of the product. Ideally, it should be around 25Kg/CMB.

Cover most of the areas which are susceptible to the noise. The foam panel will reduce the echo by absorbing sound and will also be helpful in blocking the external noise to some extent.

It works great for small and medium-size cubicles.

4. Put Fabric on Walls 

Add color to your cubicle by applying the fabric to the wall. This fabric comes in different shape and size and is generally used to protect the furniture while shifting office or rooms. It consists of thick materials which absorbs sound. The fabric consists of polyester and is stitched in a zigzag pattern. You can give a unique look and feel to your cubicle by using a moving blanket.

5. Soundproof Curtains

I personally recommend soundproof curtains. It has a great outcome when it comes to deadening a car, soundproof a room etc. The curtains come in multilayer and are made up of high-density substance sandwiched between different layers of the curtain. These curtains are so effective that they are used for industrial sound control purpose. These curtains come in different shape and size. It will add beauty to your cubicle along with significant sound reduction.

The length and breadth of these curtains should overlap your cubicle dimension for the best results. Place these curtains in such a way in your cubicle that there shouldn't be any gap between the cubicle wall and the curtains.

6. Taller is Better- Increase the length of the Cubicle

If you ask me to set the priority for the '7 Steps Soundproof A Cubicle Recipe', this stay at the top priority. But, at the same time, I don't recommend it to all my clients.
I call it a sacred weapon when nothing is working, this will definitely work. Till now, I have 1oo percent success rate.
In the layman language, it's like making a cubicle inside an existing cubicle. When you are planning to increase the size of your cubicle by using the soundproof room divider, you have to keep two things in mind.
  • It's a costly affair.
  • You need permission from office authority to use it.
I just want to share my experience, if the room divider is used properly, it can almost negate the outside noise. The uniqueness about this product is the honeycomb pattern, known for its acoustic abilities.

                                      7.White Noise Machine

Are you frequently getting distracted?

Is the background noise of the cubicle troubling you?

Then, the white noise machine is the perfect solution for you. This machine was invented keeping in mind the need for sound sleep at night without any distraction or disturbance of background noise. 

Does this machine kill the background noise?

No, they produce a neutral frequency sound which overshadows the background noise by putting the focus of your subconscious mind on their neutral frequency sound.

Definitely, you can build an enjoyable and non-distracting work environment using this product.

You can also try a portable white noise fan. It's quite useful and economical.

So, I will be expecting your feedback on this recipe. Let us know, what works for you.

Bonus Tips for Soundproof a Cubicle

Strategizing the cubicle space

Sometimes out of box thinking can resolve the problem with minimum effort. I am sharing with you the practical example of one of my esteem client. He has a small IT support company. Like other companies, here also problem started gripping related to the cubicle noise. The cubicles were very small so it was difficult to use foam panels foam panel and room dividers.
It was a difficult situation for us.
After brainstorming for a couple of weeks we get a solution which we have never applied before. We met the owner of the company as explained to him the possible solution. The owner of the company was hesitant but he has no other option.

What we did?

We divided the entire cubicle into three zones, that is, loud, neutral, and quieter cubicle. The quieter and the loud cubicles were separated by the neutral cubicles. To improve the efficiency, we separated each zone using room divider. In the layman language, we divided the entire office space into three zones. Cubicles with loud noise were put into one zone and same holds true for other zones. To minimize the effect of the loud cubicle zone, we placed the soundproof curtains between the loud zone and neutral zone.

Educate your colleague

If you feel that the office space has become very noisy, then you can discuss the issue with the management. Explain to them how the unwanted noise is taking a toll on your performance. Ask the management to send office etiquette rules to everyone. It can be an initiative to start following office etiquette.

If you are pissed off because of one or two colleagues of yours, then the best way to handle the situation is to ask them for a coffee or beer and explain them your problem. Hopefully, they will consider your request.

Telephonic Conversation

Telephonic conversation is considered to be one of the main sources of office noise. If the company have a landline, then it will add up to the problem. The solution is very simple. The management can ask the staff to use a headset while having a conversation on phone. If someone has a habit of speaking loud on the phone, then s/he can go out and talk.

Hanging Acoustic Panel

Hanging acoustic panel is a good option if the office owner is ready to invest. These are costly and are suitable where the carpet area is less.
Though they reduce about 15-20 noise instantly after the installation still I will suggest you to first try the previous method. Generally, you can consider it as a substitute for office dividers.
I recommend this to my clients who own huge space. These panel best suits for auditorium, gyms, sports arena, and industrial building.
It is more effective as compared to the wall panel because it absorbs sound from both the side.

Carpet can make a difference- Lay down some

Carpet acts as an insulator and thus reduces the echo as well as ladies heel sounds. One thing you have to keep in mind that laying down the carpet on the entire floor can help in cubicle noise reduction. Simply applying carpet to the floor of your cubicle will have a mere effect on noise pollution.

For better result, it is advisable to use a carpet along with a rubber mat. You have to just place the mat below the carpet. While buying carpet and mat, look for the thicker and denser one. 

Acoustic Tiles

Acoustic tiles are good to properly insulate the ceiling. The acoustic tile prevents the echo by absorbing the office noise. It acts as an insulator and prevents the outside noise to enter the office. 
If the height of the ceiling is very much from the floor, I recommend acoustic tiles to the client.

Before we discuss the top picks for a soundproof cubicle, you can have a look at some of the handpicked articles.
  1. Best Soundproof Curtains
  2. How do you soundproof an existing wall?
  3. Sound Deadening Car
  4. What is the soundproofing?

                                 My Top Picks- Soundproof A Cubicle

best soundproof cubicle
click for price
If your workstation is small and you are facing the cubicle noise problem, then this is a perfect product for you. It consists of extenders which increases the height of the existing panel when required. The material used in the panel helps to soundproof the workstation leading to an increase in the productivity.

soundproof cubicle divider
click for price
This product is very useful when you want to isolate a noisy portion of your office space. The product consists of strong white paper enclosed in a wooden frame. The product is lightweight and comprises of a double hinge so you can bend it either way.
acoustic foam
click for price
The acoustic foam can be used for an instant insulating purpose. You can use it on the wall of your cubicle to minimize the effect of the echo. Due to the thickness, it absorbs the sound and prevents it from reflecting back. This product is mostly used in recording studios, control rooms, home offices and so on.

Wrapping Up

Soundproof a cubicle is the need of the hour. Now, the office space is becoming costlier. As a result, the number of cubicle per room is getting increased. The companies are successful in cost-cutting by putting more number of the cubicle in a room but it is hitting hard the employee productivity. To counter this problem, my '7 steps soundproof a cubicle recipe is a solution'. The effectiveness depends upon the proper implementation of all the 7 steps.


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