What Price Would You Pay for Office Privacy?

The hits just keep on coming with government officials being criticized for office expenditures. This time, the price tag and relative value of a sound masking system is being called into question. Sacramento County administrator Brad Hudson chose to purchase and install a $15,000 privacy system on two floors of the county’s office building. The areas covered with this blanket of white noise are the Labor Relations and Human Resources departments. This is where some of the most sensitive discussions take place. If the wrong person overhears a conversation, it could lead to anything from morale disasters to fines for HIPAA violations.

Detractors point out that single-room sound masking systems are much less expensive (about $200 a pop). The problem is that not all important conversations happen behind closed doors. From a risk management strategy, having more comprehensive white noise coverage may be the smart thing to do. What do you think? What prices tag do you think is reasonable for preventing prying ears from overhearing private conversations?

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