The popular open plan office was once hailed as the solution to boosting cooperation and productivity. But as the number of open, collaborative spaces increases, so do the levels of noise, stress, and anxiety in the workplace. Noise pollution can lead to increased stress levels and dissatisfaction not just with the work environment, but also with the job itself.
Studies have revealed that people waste on average 86 minutes every day because of sound distractions, and interruptions happen around every 11 minutes. In another study, 99% of workers reported that their concentration was impaired by office noise, especially telephones left ringing at vacant desks and people talking in the background, which in turn leaves people distracted and increases their stress levels.
Some people try to combat noise distractions by working faster, but that this comes at a price, with people experiencing more stress and frustration. The frustrations are also felt by the business, given brief interruptions can double a worker’s error rate. On top of this, the trend towards flexible workspaces has meant fewer fixed furniture and soundproof elements, which means sound waves are free to travel the space, impacting acoustic comfort.
The benefits of acoustic solutions
The acoustics of the workplace can be improved to lessen distractions and increase productivity. Acoustic furniture can help to provide a sense of seclusion, giving employees a
place to conduct private meetings or make personal calls. Acoustic seclusion also gives employees a sense of control over their day, which improves job performance and morale. And that’s exactly why acoustic furniture is enjoying its moment in the spotlight.
Long-term exposure to noise can cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, stress and elevated blood pressure. Additionally, it hinders productivity whilst increasing stress levels. Office noise limits employee’s memory recall and fundamental reasoning skills. Only a calm setting can provide you with the kind of solitude needed for serious, in-depth chats and focused work. Acoustic control is a cost that pays for itself through increased employee productivity and wellbeing.
The ABCs of acoustic
How do you manage noise in the office? The ABCs, often known as the three primary techniques, can be used to solve acoustic issues in a particular environment. The sound can be absorbed, blocked, and covered.
The process by which a surface material disperses sound waves is referred to as sound absorption. Without any materials for absorption in the office, the sound will resonate more strongly and may even produce an obtrusive echo. By absorbing the sound, absorbent materials including carpet, acoustic tiles, or fabric wrapped screens lessen the reverberation. Disruptive noise can even be absorbed by plants.
In an open plan office, noise management and voice privacy can be improved by blocking sound in specific areas and isolating noisy activities from quieter ones. Walls and partitions all function as blocking devices with varying degrees of effectiveness. Adding a divider through a space is usually how sound is blocked, but the makeup of that divider can make a big difference. Consider how much quieter brick walls are compared to stud walls as an example.
Noise in the workplace can be covered by masking with another sound. The goal is often to create a layer of sound that makes it harder for us to hear individual speech or noise fragments. Covering is the process of producing an organic sound that people are used to hearing, such as noises from nature imitating the sound of water or air flowing.
Piano acoustic furniture
Acoustic furniture is created with specific fabrics and size specifications to reduce noise, heighten privacy, and increase attention and focus. Employees who work in an acoustically comfortable environment produce higher quality work and may take fewer sick days over the course of the year, since comfortable office acoustics lead to better health.
When noise enters the workspace, creativity and productivity also go out the window. That’s why manufacturers of office furniture have thrown themselves into designing elements that limit and absorb excessive noise, creating pleasant workspaces that improve performance.
The Piano acoustics range from Dams consists of five forms of acoustic furniture solutions that can be used in almost any open office plan. Piano Acoustics screens, wall tiles, solo booths, suspended panels and patterned dividers provide open plan offices and breakout spaces with multiple levels of acoustic absorption which are not only colourful and modern additions to the office aesthetics, but are also pertinent to the task at hand in each area.
Cut through the noise
A few years ago, nobody gave a lot of importance to the aspect of sound, but the trend for open plan office designs, particularly in new workspaces, has put sound at the forefront of design. Today, acoustics have become essential in making our surroundings enjoyable by minimising noise, controlling reverberations and general improving the quality of the acoustic environment in all office, education and commercial interiors.
Acoustic challenges in open offices are varied, and so are the solutions. There isn’t a one size fits all method. Employee’s productivity and wellness goals are simpler to achieve in workspaces with good acoustics. They will also be more relaxed, focused, and motivated to meet the set goals in a collaborative setting with a good acoustic balance.