The Importance of Acoustics in Open Offices

Modern open offices focus mainly on space flexibility to boost team collaboration but often neglect the need for a comfortable and distraction-free environment. Speech privacy achieved through effective acoustic design helps improve your work environment.

Open spaces are noisy. Between 25 and 30% of employees are displeased with the acoustics in their workplace. Human speech is the biggest source of noise and distraction in the office. However, the acoustics of an open-office also plays a vital role. Employee distraction has been surveyed by dozens of organizations. The results are consistent and startling. Roughly 70 % of all employees in open work areas report that the biggest impact on their productivity is the conversations of their coworkers. When an employee takes a phone call within earshot of another, the content of the conversation is enticing to the brain of the neighbour. Once distracted, productivity drops. Studies have shown that it can take as much as 20 minutes to fully regain concentration on complex tasks once distracted. Once distracted, error rates increase as work is resumed. Good or bad acoustics have a significant impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and health in your workspace. The Solution is focusing on Acoustic Design to increase productivity by incorporating acoustic absorption in open office design:

Choose furniture carefully:

Using higher modular partitions, it will provide greater privacy and reduce noise transmission because the fabric surfaces provide some acoustic absorption.  Here are some products that will help with the acoustics in your office: Acoustic Screens:

  • Absorptive materials as close as possible to the noise source have been proven to be most effective. Our Cascade screens are a collection of acoustic hanging screens that simply fall from the ceiling in unique patterns designed with your privacy in mind.

  • The Focus Acoustic Panel is a design-friendly acoustic panel with a sleek polyester texture. Focus polyester sheets are acoustically tested for sound absorption performance and perform very well with an air gap behind. The panel can be printed with corporate logos or images or used as the base fabric for bespoke 3D designs.

  • Composition Acoustic Panel is a 600mm x 600mm peel and stick self-adhesive acoustic panel. Easy to self-install and purchased in boxes of 12.

These partition systems which fit workstations to assist in the reduction of noise reverberations.  Suspended Acoustics:

  • Our Lattice is a decorative and functional acoustic absorption system for the office, education, retail, hospitality and commercial interiors. Artistically designed with functionality in mind; Lattice is ideal for reducing reverberated noise and controlling the echo of background chatter.

  • The Hush Acoustic Hood is perfect hung over a meeting table, over workspace, or over spaces in which to gather for a quiet discussion. 

High Lounges: Creating spaces specifically for privacy and louder conversations can also assist in reducing noise in the office.

  • The Domino high back Booth offers an alternative privacy-friendly reception or breakout seating.

  • The Scrum Engage is a collaboration space for up to four people that allows for meetings without the need to book a room. 

Private Movable Cubicles: The Hush range is truly a new standard in providing comfort and privacy without the costly rearrangement of the entire office space!

  • The Hush Phone creates a separation of areas for telephone calls and video-conferencing

  • The Hush Meet is a great alternative to meeting spaces and mini-conference rooms.

  • Hush Meet L is a modular acoustic box designed for meetings involving up to 8 people. It is a great alternative to permanent conference rooms, and suitable for highly private and formal meetings.

A well-designed acoustical workplace will feel comfortable to employees/tenants. Collaboration will be aided and will not distract surrounding groups that are not involved in the discussion.  At Ergostyle, we offer many acoustic solutions for various spaces in your business. There are endless possibilities for implementing these acoustic products in your office space.

References Acoustics in Open Office Situations. (2016). Retrieved from Aercoustics. (2018, June 21). Retrieved January 31, 2020, from Aercoustics website: AN, I. (2018, August 20). Krost Blog. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from Krost Blog website: Speech Privacy Systems. (2018, February 15). 4 Surefire Ways to Ensure Good Acoustics in Open-Plan Offices. Retrieved January 31, 2020, from Sound Masking and Acoustic Panels | MPS: Making Privacy Simple website: The Importance of Good Acoustics in a Successful Office. (2017, August 6). Retrieved January 31, 2020, from Workspace Direct website:
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