How to create an acoustic office
We all know how distracting office noise can be. Loud chatter, telephone calls and photocopiers can cause havoc with concentration and productivity. Studies have also confirmed that office noise impairs performance in a measurable way. *
But did you know that there are simple office furniture solutions that will create a more acoustic office and reduce noise interference? Accent Office Furniture looks at your options.
Open plan offices usually have partitions to divide teams or work zones. Office partitions are more flexible than fixed walls. They can be installed quickly, moved easily and they are depreciable assets. As well as the natural acoustic properties of office partitions, they are available with soundproofing insulation for even better office noise reduction.
Modular office partitions come in a variety of heights, colours and materials, so you can make them a design feature or blend them in with your office décor.
As well as using office partitions to separate people, think about locating the photocopier, shredder and fax machines in the same area, so that you can install an acoustic partition around them. Your staff will thank you for it! A central print hub has the added health benefit of encouraging employees to walk more, rather than being sedentary for long periods.
Acoustic dividing screens
For areas where some privacy is required but space is tight, freestanding acoustic screens are a perfect way to create a ‘chat’ zone for customers or visitors. Available in functional or designer styles, you will easily find a screen to suit your other office furniture and interior design. Customised screens are also surprisingly affordable.
Office furniture pieces for collaboration
Acoustic dividing screens also work well for ad hoc meetings. Select a convenient corner, add a freestanding screen divider and a comfy high-backed office lounge. Staff will migrate there, rather than having conversations in the middle of the office.
High backed meeting pods are fantastic for encouraging quiet collaboration. They allow a team to huddle together without needing a private meeting room. Accent Office Furniture’s Huddlepod is available in high or low back, 4 or 6 seater and has a variety of power and data options to maximise productivity.
Desk areas provide the biggest challenge to office acoustics. There will be people calling out across the office, animated telephone conversations and even videos that staff need to watch for training or their work. Open plan desk areas can make staff feel that they are always surrounded by noise. This can be really detrimental to morale.
The good news is that office furniture design has come a long way from the simple desk. There are many choices of workstations with freestanding screen systems to reduce noise pollution. The thicker the screen, the better the acoustic effect and screens that go down to the floor provide the most noise insulation. Desk screens can be customised to suit any workstation.
Other tips for a more acoustic office
- Encourage staff to use headphones to listen to online videos or webinars. Noise-cancelling headphones will also help block out surrounding chatter.
- Add plants around the office—not only do they reduce background noise, but they also look great and improve air quality.
To find out more about creating an acoustic workplace with office furniture solutions, please call the Accent Group on 1800 044 044.
* See for example https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23412582