A Guide To Office Acoustics
Most workplace design is created with the visual aspect in mind and, whilst this leads to a pleasant environment in which to work, all too often the acoustics are not given consideration. This is often the case in large open areas within offices, schools, colleges, exhibitions and showrooms – in fact, anywhere people need to meet, talk, think or concentrate.
There are a number of solutions, however, and the first step within an office environment can be desktops screens. These not only create a divide between the desks, but can absorb a small amount of sound. In large, open spaces people like to create “hubs” either in the form of high back seating or pods and these not only look stylish but have great acoustic qualities.
Acoustic workpods can be curved, straight, freestanding or suspended and are lightweight which makes them easy to install. They are also very strong and the bonus is that the fabric skin can be digitally printed with unique designs (initiated by the client if preferred) which provide amazing branding possibilities. If the fabric needed to be changed then no tools would be required to install, remove or replace it. The frame is assembled using only Allen keys.
Acoustic panels are another solution and these can be wall hung or suspended from the ceiling and, again, can be digitally printed to create interest and colour. Again, designs can be provided or customer’s own.
Use of sound absorbent materials improves acoustic comfort and sound absorptive materials will prevent sound waves from bouncing around the room. With less sound energy bouncing around, speech will be more intelligible and the occupants will speak more quietly. In addition the sound waves will not travel so far, improving speech privacy. It’s the very opposite of the noisy pub scenario and very relevant to open plan offices and teaching environments.