Sound Issues in a Large Coworking Space

In a week the Atlanta Tech Village will open an expanded coworking area with reserved desks for 30+ people and unreserved bench seating for 15+ more people in a large 4,000+ square foot area. To date, the pre-renovation coworking area has been 20+ private offices with two to six desks per office, more like a shared Regus office and less like a coworking area. Next week’s new space will be a complete, traditional coworking space with a large open area, game room, and several shared conference rooms. Enter the sound question.

A common question people ask when touring the space is “will it get loud in here?” Of course, we don’t want it loud so we need a plan for addressing sound issues. Here are a few ideas:

  • No phone calls in the large area such that people that need to get on the phone can use one of the three phone booths, five conference rooms, game room, hallway, or go outside
  • Require companies that have a heavy cold-calling component to their business model to have a private room or suite
  • Ask people with a loud or booming voice to be cognizant of those around them
  • Incorporate some small white noise machines / active noise reduction technology

Sound is always going to be a concern in a large, open work area. With core value number one being “be nice”, I’m confident everything will work out great.

What else? What are some other ideas to address sound issues in a large coworking space?

2 thoughts on “Sound Issues in a Large Coworking Space

  1. Hey David,

    I spent a year building / launching 200 Office, the coworking space downtown at the old Macy’s building.

    We also had a huge open space and brainstormed ideas to kill some of the inevitable noise from phone calls.

    Best solution: phone booths.

    We bought British style, red phone booths with cool recess lights inside them, and of course the actual phones were inoperable. This let people remain in the room during calls, while also giving them a private space and eliminating the noise. The kicker was that it felt so cool making a call in an old phone booth.

    Look into it! 🙂

    1. Agreed, they are actually unloading tons of decommisioned british phone booths right now and buying them in bulk might be the best way. I was thinking of creating a dedicated room of acoustic soundproofing to avoid explaining leaf blowers traffic on conference calls and getting lighting good for video conference calls to look as professional as possible. I worked in a coworking space this summer with concrete floors and brick walls, calls even in the hallway were competing for space with 2-3 ongoing conversations just among 8 groups. I would start with 3 spaces and plan for 40ish. Maybe we were just a talkative group.
      For the large open area, maybe a middle school cafeteria noise monitor with a traffic light. Nobody wants to be the heavy and you can push the blame to the red light. Probably could build one that tweets or something.

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