Offices can be noisy. From water cooler conversations and outside traffic to phones, printers and air conditioners, there is no end to the stream of sounds facing the modern workforce. So, it’s no surprise that acoustic issues are one of the highest cited worker complaints — with between 25 to 30% of employees dissatisfied with office noise levels.
When functionality and aesthetics rule all during project planning and design, workspace comfort necessities — such as acoustic control — are often pushed to the wayside. But with employee productivity, creativity and wellness on the line, there can be no room for error.
So where do you start? When planning a workspace with acoustic control, the first step is to program and lay out the office space to acoustically separate various work environments.
Employees engage in different activities throughout the day, such as individual work, collaborative projects, conversation with colleagues and lunch breaks. To tailor good acoustics throughout the office, start by separating noisy spaces from quiet ones.
This is best done by positioning quiet spaces away from primary travel routes, such as within a cul-de-sac, and intentionally creating collaborative zones like game rooms, lounges and break rooms where lively activity and conversation are encouraged.
Once the office is organized to promote quality acoustics, the next step is to actually trap and maintain sound waves. Regardless of office layout, noise travels; without intervention, office conversations can be heard clearly at a distance of up to 70 feet. By investing in sound-absorbent furniture materials and noise reduction coefficient (NRC) features, this number can decrease to 20 feet.
To create sound-proof private offices and meeting rooms, extend walls from the floor to a structural deck. Then, make sure to implement sound panels on 20% of wall surfaces or at least two walls.
For open office plans, introduce carpeted floors and acoustic desk or area partitions, like these options from Stylex and Zonez. Industry professionals such as Turf have also succeeded with a mission to meld aesthetics with acoustic control, so acoustic ceiling and wall fixtures add to the workspace in more ways than one.
As technology shifts and office spaces evolve, acoustic treatments will inevitably continue on this upward trend of matching functionality and aesthetics. The Johnson Simon team is ready and available to help you create a workspace that prioritizes both stunning design and workspace comfort. Call us today at (713) 789-6006 to find out more.