Bender Insurance Solutions is one of the largest independently-owned insurance brokerages in the Sacramento, California area, providing a variety of solutions to both commercial and individual clients. The company is known for its superior customer service, so it is imperative employees assist clients and concentrate on projects with minimal interruptions.
Each month, the company holds education and training sessions as part of its ongoing “Bender U” seminars, held in one of the company’s conference rooms. During scheduled breaks, attendees speak to each other in hallways and corridors, which sometimes distract employees and creates increased noise complaints to management. Additionally, the thin walls of both private offices and conference rooms lead to conversation spillover into the open office area.
Vice President of Finance Michele Sweet and President Maggie Bender-Johnson began looking for a solution to the company’s sound problems. They researched construction options, but ultimately these were cost-prohibitive. Bender Insurance Solutions’ IT firm suggested there might be a technical solution to the problem. They had sound masking from Cambridge Sound Management installed in their office and suggested Sweet and Bender-Johnson visit to experience it.
Sound masking adds a low-level, unobtrusive background sound to an environment to reduce excess speech noise, making the affected environment more comfortable, private, and free of distractions. Impressed with the system, Bender decided to purchase it. Their furniture supplier, United Corporate Furnishings, was also familiar with the technology and connected them with area integrator Precision West Technologies, who implemented QtPro™ from Cambridge Sound Management throughout the space.
Precision West installed barely visible Qt® Emitters (loudspeakers) in the drop ceiling throughout the open office, private office, and conference room space. The emitters were connected by cables to a Qt® 300 control module residing in the server room. The system allowed for different masking volume levels across different zones, allowing Bender Insurance Solutions to address noise distractions more proactively in the open office areas. Automatic ramping was also programmed into the system, allowing the masking noise to be slightly louder at times when the office is busiest.
When employees returned to the office after the sound masking was installed, they were pleasantly surprised to hear the masking noise and noticed a significant decrease in distractions. After a few days, the masking itself wasn’t noticeable to employees, but the benefits continued to pay dividends for employee concentration, productivity, and wellbeing. “Sound masking helps make our office feel quieter and more comfortable,” says Sweet. “Speech noise from across the office is much less distracting, making it much easier for everyone to concentrate. It’s become an essential part of our office.” Bender Insurance Solutions has since added QtPro™ to two additional office expansions.