Our Guide to Workplace Acoustics
When it comes to commercial interior design, it’s easy to get hung up on the visual impact of your space – but beware. The excitement of choosing fixtures, fittings and furniture may mean you overlook other important factors, such as workplace acoustics.
And with sound negatively affecting the concentration, productivity and creativity levels of 69% of workers, it can be an expensive oversight. In fact, a recent study reveals that chatty coworkers and office noise are cited as the top distractorsin the workplace, while another shows that 44% of workers said that workplace noise had a negative impact on their wellbeing.
That’s why, at Layrd Design, we explore workplace acoustics at the start of your project. Plus, it ensures that all aspects of your workspace are fit for purpose. For instance, healthcare providers may need soundproof rooms to protect sensitive patient information, while hospitality and retail spaces often benefit from a little ambient noise.
As if the reasons above weren’t important enough, we should also mention that it can be difficult and expensive to retrofit acoustic measures once you’re up and running. Ignore them at your peril!
ABC of Workplace Acoustics
Interior designers and architects use three key techniques to manage sound:
Absorb:Many materials, such as wood and foam, absorb sound close to the source so it doesn’t echo around the space.
Block: Some features, such as walls, doors and screens, can be used to keep noise contained.
Cover: Ambient sound can often be used to mask other sounds. For instance, certain types of white noise help to cover human voices, minimising distractions.
During the course of every project, we consider how these three methods can be used throughout the space to create an appropriate soundscape.
Starting at the top of the space, ceilings play a vital role in managing the way sound travels.
We often recommend wooden baffles and ceiling rafts to absorb noise and stop it reverberating around our clients’ workspaces. Felt and foam baffles also have great sound-insulating properties and can be hung from ceilings in a wide range of environments.
While it’s obvious that walls are great for blocking noise, they can also be used to absorb sound. Decorative acoustic panels can be fixed to interior walls to create a design feature that’s both practical and eye-catching. You could even choose shapes and colours in keeping with your brand.
Post-lockdown, we’re seeing lots of businesses invest in ‘Zoom pods’. These small meeting spaces are designed to facilitate private video calls at the office. Equipped with chairs and power supplies, there are both permanent and temporary options on the market, so employees can avoid meetings in open-plan environments.
It’s often overlooked, but flooring plays a big role in the workplace soundscape. If you’re not convinced, just consider how footsteps echo around a multi-storey car park! Carpets have great sound-absorbing qualities and some ranges of carpet tiles have in-built acoustic backing, further dulling distracting sounds – and footsteps!
Discuss Workplace Acoustics with Us!
If you’d like to improve the acoustics of your workplace, we’d love to help you to find a solution.
Simply give us a call on 01223 952992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.