As we spend a significant portion of our day at work, it is essential to ensure that our work environment is conducive to productivity and well-being. While we often focus on ergonomic furniture and lighting, we tend to overlook the importance of acoustics. Workplace acoustics can have a significant impact on employee productivity, satisfaction, and even health.
IPSOS Study on Workplace Satisfaction
An extensive international study by IPSOS, global market research, and consulting firm, found that 85% of office staff are dissatisfied with their working environments and have a hard time concentrating on their tasks. This is strongly correlated with the fact that open floor plans have become commonplace. The study also showed that typical interruptions, such as others’ conversations, ringtones, loud typing, printers, mobile notifications, etc., cause staff to lose up to 86 minutes a day. Several studies show the negative impact of workplace distractions on mental health and workplace absenteeism.
One way to improve sound absorption is by using materials with high sound absorption properties, such as acoustic panels, ceiling tiles, and carpets. These materials can help to reduce the amount of sound that is reflected off hard surfaces and prevent echoes in the space.
Furniture can play a significant role in reducing echoing and improving sound absorption in the workplace. Here are some furniture ideas to consider:
can be fixed on desks, more typically down the center of bench workstations, and can help to reduce noise levels as well as create a sense of privacy between workstations. While sound can still travel up and around, every little bit helps, especially if your office has hard floors and exposed ceilings.
Sound absorbing panels
are made of materials that absorb sound waves, reducing their reflection and improving the acoustic quality of a space, these can be doubled up as artwork on internal meeting room walls, or they can be used as suspended ceiling rafts – made from either recycled PET or simple upholstered panels.
Bookshelves and cabinets:
Instead of a sea of desks as far as the eye can see, consider dividing up the space with floor-standing acoustic screens, curtains, or trendy shelving/storage units that incorporate upholstered panels and natural elements like plants to create a more peaceful and calming environment.
Designated quiet areas:
Designating specific areas within the office where employees can go to have quiet conversations or focus on their work can be helpful. This can be achieved through the use of quiet rooms with Acoustic paneling, phone booths or soft individual work pods, or designated quiet zones screens off with storage & planting
How a space is furnished cannot be underestimated in improving sound absorption. Upholstered seating areas low and high back, cushions, and rugs on the floor all have a positive impact on the sound as well as making the office a more enjoyable place to be.
If you are trying to reduce the distraction caused by unwanted noise such as conversations, phones ringing, or typing, sound masking is a better choice. Sound masking systems provide a consistent background sound that helps to reduce the annoyance of other noises in the environment by making them less noticeable.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to use both sound-absorbing panels and sound masking. For example, sound-absorbing panels could be used to improve the acoustic quality of a space and reduce echo, while sound masking could be used to reduce the distraction caused by unwanted noise from the meeting room next door for example. Sometimes too quiet is more of a distraction.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can improve workplace acoustics in your organization, reach out to us for more information. Our team of experts would be happy to discuss your needs and requirements. Contact us today to get started!