The Problem with Cubicles

“Overheard conversation” is one of the most complained about problems pervasive in the modern office.  That’s because rows or islands of cubicles do not lend themselves to privacy or subtlety.  A study of 7 office buildings found that 72% of respondents were dissatisfied with speech privacy in their workplace.  Presumably they were well-aware of their sound leaks during cell phone calls and co-worker chatter around them.



3 offices are off this central reception/waiting area.

These signs prove just how distracting open areas or close quarters are.

These signs prove just how distracting open areas or close quarters are.

Even individual offices are problematic in that they are noisy just outside the door.    The same two problems persist: distraction and lack of confidentiality.


The average worker is distracted more than 2 hours a day, costing businesses hundreds of billions of dollars annually.  Manager and owners try to cut real estate costs by cramming in more workers in the same {or even less} space.  This just adds more noise and frustration because distracted workers are not only less productive, they’re also more prone to stress and mistakes, as well as absenteeism and turn-over.


In addition to distracted workers, close quarters lend themselves to breaches of confidentiality.   This is problematic for many facilities that deal in trade secrets, government or military information, HIPAA regulations, counseling, pastoral care, therapy, etc.  In these situations, overheard conversations are more than an annoyance or time-killer, they’re dangerous.

Sound Masking

This leads us back to the idea of speech privacy, or the concept that there can be privacy in the work place.  Speech privacy is achieved when workers are aware that conversations are taking place, but cannot decipher them.  Essentially, they hear it but don’t understand it.  The practical application of achieving speech privacy is two-fold:

The best way to establish this level of privacy is through a sound masking system, such as the VoiceArrest.  Offering more privacy per decibel than any other system available, the productivity-enhancing benefits of the VoiceArrest System have been proven across a wide range of office environments:

  • Open-office environments
  • Executive Suites and Board Rooms
  • Mixed-configuration (open and enclosed offices)

If your office could benefit from less distraction or more confidentiality, a sound masking system might be the right solution for you.

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