Some people seem to be able to block out any level of noise, however, gossiping colleagues, ringing phones, or even a coffee machine brewing away in the kitchen can be enough to distract the majority of employees from focusing on their work.
While there are many benefits to open plan offices, such as boosting teamwork and collaboration, these open spaces can foster noise levels.
A recent article by Tech Guru Daily raises some great points about how important acoustics are and how you can minimise noise through office design…
The impact of noise
Different workers thrive in different environments. While some may flourish in a busy office, others will find such an environment demotivating. Noisy offices can lead to illness, increasing stress levels, fatigue and numerous other serious issues. But, as every business, office and individual worker is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling the issue of noise in the workplace.
How sound waves work
Before we look at how office design can impact the acoustics, it’s worth considering how sound waves actually work. Tech Guru Daily suggests thinking of sound waves as sea waves, with vibrations causing ripples that continue in a direction until they run out of energy. But when the waves hit hard surfaces, such as wood floors, they reflect off in different directions. Without a soft surface to soak up the noise, the waves will continue to bounce around, making a chatty office seem even louder.
A balancing act
As we cannot see sound waves, incorporating acoustics into office design can be difficult and take quite a lot of planning. Retaining an open office style while providing privacy and tackling noise levels can require a balancing act. One major way to counter noise is by implementing soft surfaces into the design, through use of carpets, acoustic panels and acoustic screens. Office design can also be planned in such a way as to reduce the reverberation rates of sound waves in the office.