Can a Meeting Pod be Soundproof?
The term “Soundproof” can be confusing in reference to nearly any real life product or space, including Meeting Pods. Due the widespread use of this terminology, we wanted to clearly define the meaning of Soundproof in the context of iOctane Pods products.
We also wanted to provide some valuable insights into techniques and tools which can give your team a great environment in which to produce their best work. Please click on the tabs below for more information.
The typical reference point for Meeting Pods labelled as "Soundproof" currently on the market is a 30dB reduction of the sound level in the typical range of human speech.
The range of frequencies for the human voice is not necessarily what one might expect, with a male speaking voice fundamental tones being between 85Hz and 155Hz and female between 155Hz and 255Hz. In fact, the highest note of a female Soprano is only 1280Hz. On this basis, a Meeting Pod only needs to focus on a narrow range of frequencies, unless being used for music or other purposes.
iOctane's Meeting Pods achieve a result in these ranges up to around 35dB (as shown by graph on left for sPod testing), but generally over 30dB reduction.
This 30dB+ level of reduction is quite significant and generally is perfectly acceptable for reducing intelligibility of speech inside the Pod to low levels, however the ability to discern conversations is more complex than a simple sound level reduction for a Pod. The ambient sound level of the office is a key factor, as well as the intended use of the Pod.
Your business may need a Meeting Pod to reduce the ability to hear and discern conversations inside the Pod, but perhaps you need the occupants of the Pod to not hear what is going on outside the Pod, or perhaps you need to isolate a vocalist from the band for recording purposes? Our clients have a vast number of different reasons for choosing iOctane Pods to solve these critical issues in their environment.
Have you ever been working in a totally silent environment (an exam for instance) and suddenly a car horn from 3 blocks away grabs your attention, stopping you getting back to the task at hand for a few minutes?
The human brain can sometimes operate out of our conscious control, and we find ourselves focusing on the thread of a nearby conversation, even though we can barely hear the words.
Science shows that in the new workplace environment, the "One Sided" Conversations (ie headphones) are even worse, as our brains work hard to decipher what the conversation is about.
In contrast to the belief that a totally silent office is the most productive, numerous studies have proven that "White Noise" can be used in any environment to provide a pleasing masking effect which achieves the following benefits:
- Reduces distraction from unexpected sounds, eliminating the need to refocus constantly;
- Eliminates the ability for the brain to focus on surrounding conversations - they all blend into the noise;
- Makes it impossible to discern any conversations nearby;
- Provides a relaxing backdrop to improve concentration and even increase creativity.
The use of carefully managed ambient noise works brilliantly with Soundproof Meeting Pods to provide the highest level of privacy and a highly productive environment for staff.
There are a number of ideas which can be easily applied in any office to reduce distraction to staff, but also increase concentration and facilitate creativity to bring out the best in your team.
Unfortunately, the new workplace environment based on "Hybrid Work" brings some negatives, such as an increased need for staying connected to remote staff, with constant meetings and video calls. This can result in large meeting rooms being booked out by 1-2 people groups, or perhaps colleagues on calls at their desk wearing headphones and oblivious to the fact they are yelling.
Meeting Pods - These are a simple solution and can be dropped anywhere throughout the office, and ideally right next to clusters of desks, so staff can jump in instantly the video call gets a little loud. Pods also provide the perfect space for group meetings/calls, whilst keeping the large meeting rooms available.
White Noise/Background Noise - The studies show clearly that carefully managed background noise increases concentration, focus, and even creativity by removing sounds which de-focus people. We use ambient Forest Soundscapes in our co-working business spaces as the perfect solution and this study indicates that the ideal sound level for this type of background noise is 70dB.
Variety of Spaces - By providing staff with a number of different options of Pods and Acoustic Furnishings, they are able to self-select a location which will be most productive for themselves, and also will suit the requirement for noise (either that they produce, or they require).
People need variety and change to flourish and also to engage most effectively with one another.