A lack of sound privacy is the most common complaint among open-office workers. It’s estimated that workers lose 86 minutes per day to sound distractions. As experienced contractors, and we have some suggestions on how to reduce noise in an open office design.
Careful planning of the office layout now can avoid serious sound distractions and the ensuing morale and productivity problems they cause later. Clustering desks in efficient team groups behind partitions can create a collaborative atmosphere. It also provides the necessary sound privacy to that team while reducing noise distractions from others nearby outside of the partitioned enclosures.
Create Designated Loud Spaces
A thoughtful open-office layout should always include isolated areas for the unavoidable sounds of daily business operations. Loud office equipment such as copiers, fax machines, and printers can be strategically located out of the sound flow of the primary work area in isolated corners or behind acoustic partitions.
Loud spaces also apply to lunch areas, huddle rooms and break rooms, where employees can speak, collaborate and debate, or socialize without the worry of distracting coworkers. Attention to the acoustic design of these busy spaces is well warranted.
Create Quiet Spaces
Quiet spaces are critical for individual effort and focus. Glass partitioned spaces are often provided for executives and supervisors for privacy, but making some of these spaces available as sanctuaries for the worker who needs isolation for a technically difficult task is a great morale booster. Conference and huddle rooms can suit this role when they’re not being used for meetings, so it’s a good idea to design and build these as quiet spaces from the ground up.
Natural wood, porcelain, or ceramic floors actually augment noise pollution in the office and should be avoided. Carpet is the ideal flooring for sound absorption, but it’s not a practical choice for every open office. Vinyl flooring is a versatile alternative in many cases. Vinyl has very high sound absorption properties itself, and the rubber underlayment added beneath a low maintenance vinyl floor enhances sound absorption even more.
Acoustic Panels and Partitions
Partitions and cubicles are the time-tested method for getting the most versatility from the open office space. Partitions set up with modern acoustic panels absorb sound and now the panels come in a variety of styles which are also aesthetically pleasing to the eye, which hasn’t always been the case in the past. Partitions don’t need to extend from floor to ceiling, even partial partitions are effective noise suppressors.
Installing sound insulation material is a highly effective method for reducing noise in the office space. The process may be too costly and time-consuming to be an option for existing offices, but this noise reduction strategy should be seriously considered for any ground-up office renovation.
At Antham Construction we design and build offices so don’t hesitate to contact us for your new build or office renovation.