Why are workplace acoustics important?
Comfort and productivity are top priorities for any workplace – and surprisingly, acoustics may have a bigger effect on this than you may realise. In this article, we’ll take a look at why acoustics are important for employee wellbeing and how to improve the acoustics of a workplace through design.
Why are acoustics important?
Different people respond in different ways to their environment. Some people focus more on what their surroundings look like, while others will pay more attention to the sounds going on around them. For the latter type of person, modern offices and other busy workplaces pose a challenge – and a noisy one, at that.
With many offices switching to open-plan layouts, the ease of cross-company communication has improved. This is great news for efficiency and morale, but might have the side effect of increased noise levels in the workspace. This is also coupled with sounds of typing, machines, phones ringing and much more, to create an atmosphere with a constant hum of sound.
While some won’t be bothered by this, for others it can be detrimental to their enjoyment of the office, and consequently, their productivity.
The consequences of a noisy office or workplace can include:
- Low productivity
- Increased stress levels
- Reduced concentration
- High staff turnover
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to improve workplace acoustics while still benefiting from the aesthetic appeal of an open-plan office.
How to improve the acoustics of a workplace
Everything comes down to design. Here are four key suggestions:
- Materials to absorb excess noise: Hard flooring will do little to absorb sound, so instead opt for carpets or softer materials such as lino or vinyl – these will look and feel more comfortable, too, as well as improving acoustics. Soft furnishings or high-backed chairs can also have a similar effect on sound absorption, while also being welcoming and contributing to the style of the workplace.
- Acoustic panels & ceiling baffles: To reduce noise levels and improve acoustics, consider including acoustic panels and ceiling baffles into your office design. Here at Arc Business Interiors, we incorporate acoustic technologies into our fit-outs and redesigns to ensure your office is a comfortable, productive space to work.
- Create specific zones: When trying to focus, the last thing you need is somebody having a social lunch nearby or a long phone call with a client. In this sense, creating specific zones for specific uses is very important. Breakout rooms, kitchens, client meeting rooms – there are many zones that you could create to ensure that louder areas are kept apart from the general workspace. Noisy equipment, such as printers, may be better placed in a room of its own away from the general population. You could also create a policy that phone calls that are predicted to be longer in length should be confined to a breakout or meeting room.
- Partitions: Barriers and partitions can also reduce sound travelling between areas of the office, whether they be movable screens or more solid in-built partitions. These barriers don’t have to be stuffy or oppressive, and instead could be chic, contemporary glass to help encourage natural light flow and a feeling of spaciousness, whilst reducing sound.
For more ideas and inspiration on how to improve the acoustics of your workplace, simply get in touch with Arc Business Interiors. We specialise in office and workplace fitouts, renovations and redesigns, and have years of experience creating spaces to enhance creativity, productivity and well-being. We serve businesses throughout the UK so get in touch today.