Office acoustics and noise issues

03 Jul

Need sounding out as to your issues with noise levels and acoustics in your office?

Various studies have shown that loud noise within the office space directly affects productivity.  And as the popularity of the open plan office space increases; more effort, work and thoughts are being invested into developing more office acoustic solutions.


So what is the ideal level of noise?

The maximum noise level for optimum results is around 50-60 decibels which to get into perspective, is the sound from a normal conversation. So how do we achieve this level of quietness in an open space? Where people are talking over the top of each other, phones are constantly ringing, printers printing, etc. etc.?

How can I reduce the noise levels in my office?

There are many ways in which the noise can be dampened and reverberations can be reduced.  This includes; the overall design of the workplace and space planning; technology; furniture; ceiling; flooring, insulation and partitioning.

Office design would be the most important element to consider when reducing the noise levels within the office.  The way the space is planned and designed has more of a huge impact on the noise levels with in the office than the fixtures, materials and furnishings themselves.  Many office designs now incorporate third spaces, collaborations zones, meeting booths, informal meeting areas and break out areas.  The idea is that meetings are held in these areas as opposed to around the desks in the office, this is to reduce the office noise and distractions.  These areas are designed to foster creativity and where people feel comfortable to meet, talk and concentrate.  These meeting areas are often with in the open plan office but have an element of segregation; this could be something structural like a partition.

Technology plays an important role too, as we see the majority of office staff with earpieces and as technology as a whole is getting quieter, quicker and more efficient.  Having segregated printing areas or post rooms can reduce the noise and distractions.

When taking into account the ceiling, we have different methods in which sound can be managed.  The ceiling plays an important role as this can control noise from footstep noises from the floor above and any heating / mechanical noises that may result from air conditioning vents etc.  Acoustic rafts and baffles can also reduce noise in the office space; these are particularly useful in collaborative areas and third spaces.

We are seeing more noise reducing furniture being made available in the market; these include acoustic rated desk top screens, high back sofas.   High back sofas are proving more popular in these as they provide workers with an excellent space to make the private phone call or host the confidential meeting.

At Officeinsight we consider the noise element when we create office designs and space plans. We see many offices that have been designed and fitted out where the acoustics have been neglected. Contact us today for more information.