Office Acoustics: How to Soundproof Your Workspace

Office Acoustics Snowsound Baffle Ceiling Acoustic Panels

The challenge of office acoustics is something architects, interior designers and space planners and have been wrestling with since the office became a central place for work. What are office acoustics?  Office acoustics refer to the way sound behaves in the work environment, ranging from small background noises to regular speaking volume. Throughout the many forms and evolutions the office has taken, noise has been a consistent factor viewed in different ways, especially in recent decades when open-plan office layouts have become more popular.  Are workers distracted by poor acoustics and can’t concentrate? Or do they find themselves ready to sacrifice peace and quiet to be immersed in collaboration and desire to be surrounded by others?

How do we find the perfect balance?

Use office acoustic solutions.


Photo: Loftwall Parallel Desk Divider

The Great Variety of Office Acoustic Solutions


Photo: Nevins Ariel Acoustic Hanging Panel

Office acoustics solutions are products that absorb and diffuse sound waves and vibrations to reduce noise in a workspace. They can also improve sound quality and are typically made of lightweight materials such as polyester fibre, mineral wool, or biophilic elements like wood, cork or moss. These materials come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, and oftentimes may serve as decorative objects. There are various types of acoustic products. They can be integral parts of the office, like ceiling tiles, panels, carpeting, and double-paned windows.  They can also serve a combination of aesthetic and functional purpose like dividers, planters, and ancillary furniture and accessories.

The Hybrid Schedule 

Now that more people are coming back to the office, many businesses are turning to a hybrid work model that allows employees to work at a fixed schedule in-office and remotely for the sake of flexibility and better work-life balance. Harvard Business Review and Stanford’s research shows that the hybrid work scenario where workers go to the office for at least three days a week is 50% more effective at completing tasks, boosting motivation and increasing engagement with their work. Individuals are using this work model to their advantage; working remotely in privacy and isolation to concentrate on their assignments, and coming to the office in person to be immersed in the company culture, foster connection, and spark creativity through collaboration.

Office Acoustics in Open-Plan Spaces

The hybrid schedule led to the return of open-plan layout and industrial office lofts: environments known for being flexible with space and capable of supporting different work styles while encouraging communication and innovation. But the open office comes with potential issues too. Collaborating together creates noise that can serve as a distraction for others who needs to focus. Now, companies are very much invested in looking for a solution that would resolve their sound issues and help divide spaces into designated areas. That’s why with the reemergence of open-plan spaces, office acoustic panels that function as space dividers are now becoming increasingly popular.  Many are being used not only to dampen noise and optimize sound quality, but to divide spaces and create separate environments for different applications and purposes. 

The Right Balance of Sound

One should never underestimate the power of office acoustics, especially in the workplace. Office acoustics can have an enormous effect on the overall working environment, dictating how well people communicate and perform they daily tasks. It’s all about finding a good balance. Instead of swinging between two extremes of isolation and noise, acoustic solutions can restore equilibrium in the workplace and come with many benefits. By absorbing sound and reducing noise, these products can significantly improve the overall sound quality and help achieve the best acoustics for office environments with the additional perks of boosting concentration, effective communication and worker productivity.

Multi-Functional Office Acoustics


Photo: Nevins Bio Canvas Wall

Best of all, acoustic solutions can be multi-functional. Why clutter your office space with too many products that only serve one purpose when you can save space with just one? Today, there’s an endless array of products in the market ranging from space dividers, desk shields, wall panels, suspended ornaments, planters, shelving, soft furniture, cubbies, ceiling tiles and more.  It also comes with the added bonus of offering clients a strong, favorable impression the moment they walk through the company doors, especially now that corporations have taken more initiative to create and present stronger, identifiable brands.  All in all, office acoustics solutions not only optimize the overall sound quality of your office environments but also add immense value by elevating the look and feel of the entire office space, ultimately enhancing overall mood, productivity, creativity and employee well-being. 

As our needs in the office evolve, our offices evolve with them. And the key to answering the challenge of balancing collaboration and productivity with privacy and concentration: office acoustic solutions. 

Recommended Office Acoustic Solutions

MERGEWORKS ECHODECO BEAM BAFFLES – Office acoustic ceiling panels like the MergeWorks EchoDeco Beam Baffles can be hung horizontally and add a pop of fun texture and color while ensuring noise levels stay low. Acoustic baffles are great for controlling reverberation in spaces with high ceilings and give a sense of privacy in an open space. 


Photo: MergeWorks EchoDeco Beam Baffles

SNOWSOUND SI SBOCCIA – When sound bounces off hard surfaces and amplifies unwanted noise, wall panels are extremely helpful in office soundproofing and can even double as art pieces. The Snowsound Si Sboccia panel takes inspiration from rosebuds and can be wall-mounted or suspended from the ceilings as decorative design elements.

SCANDINAVIAN SPACES PIXEL AND PIXEL FRAMED – The Scandinavian Spaces Pixel and Pixel Framed panels are made of organic materials such as wood and moss.  They are excellent as office acoustic wall panels because they can absorb a range of frequencies with little-to-no maintenance, and provide great color and texture to your office walls. 

AMQ’S 3F WALL TILE – AMQ’s 3F Wall Tiles are another artistic office acoustic panels solution that can improve sound quality with its wide array of subtle and bold panels made from felt—a fibrous material with excellent sound-insulating properties. 


Photo: Snowsound Si Sboccia, Scandinavian Spaces Pixel and Pixel Framed, and AMQ’s 3F Wall Tiles

LOFTWALL ROOMS WALL SYSTEM – Office acoustic solutions can take other forms, too. The Loftwall Rooms Wall System is a quick and easy way to carve out your separate office spaces using a demountable partition system that has sound absorbing and sound dampening benefits.


Photo: Loftwall Rooms Wall System

MERGEWORKS URBAN WALLS ROOM DIVIDER – Similarly, the MergeWorks Urban Walls Room Divider makes perfect office acoustic partitions that can construct meeting rooms, huddle spaces, or private areas in a blink of an eye without the added expense. Its acrylic wall panels are an effective sound barrier that keeps noise contained where it needs to be, and also provides tack-boards and dry-erase boards for even more use and functionality.


Photo: MergeWorks Urban Walls Room Divider

MAVERICK PLANTERS – Maverick Planters reduce noise pollution because vegetation naturally absorbs and diffuses sound. Planters can also be used as partitions to divide the space in the office and come with additional benefits like providing privacy, increasing productivity and improving air quality. 


Photo: Maverick Planters

LOFTWALL SHIFT SHELF AND SPACE DIVIDER – Loftwall’s Shift Shelf and Space Divider combine necessity with privacy. Shelves are extremely useful for storage and organizing in the workplace, and Loftwall adds their own ingenious take on office essentials by creating a modern shelving solution that carves out spaces, offers storage, and uses stylishly clever panels to control acoustics.


Photo: Loftwall Shift Shelf and Space Divider

Read Also: Stylish Noise Reducing Office Furniture Trends for 2024
Main Photo: Snowsound Baffle Ceiling Panel
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: AMQLoftwall, Maverick, MergeWorks, Scandinavian Spaces, Snowsound

Infusing Offices with New Energy Using Fresh Interior Design Office Tips

Interior Design Office Tips Friant System 2 Screen

The upcoming year have many of us starting anew and looking for ways to freshen up our office.  And like most things, we want our workspace to look and feel better, as well as work more efficiently for our needs.  These great interior design office tips not only help revamp and elevate your office space, but truly are more practical than you’d think — and incredibly simple to incorporate.

All in all, it’s all about bringing in new positivity, so don’t forget to have fun.

Interior Design Office Tips ODS Artiv Workstation
Photo: ODS Artiv Workstation

Interior Design Office Tips

Boring office environments should fade away because there are tremendous options available to design a workplace that reflects your brand. Don’t worry about busting budgets since modular furnishings make it possible to start small and expand as needed.

An office that’s planned well can boost morale and be a key to retaining top talent. This leads to greater productivity and profitability.

But how do you capture the best interior?

Plan the Area

The first of these interior design office tips is planning.  Take note of the personnel, their tasks, and how often they’re in the office. Who works full-time, in-office, and who works a hybrid schedule of working in the office and working remotely?

List your needs including:

  • The number of workstations
  • Flexible meeting areas
  • Communication plans with remote workers
  • Storage


Photo: Deskmaker Catalina Storage

Don’t cram an area with furniture; leave open space where possible. This acts like white space on a website to draw people in.

Reflect Your Brand

Designing your office is a reflection of your brand. If you’re a professional firm, you don’t need to be stiff and formal, but you should inspire confidence in your staff and clients who come to visit.

Begin the moment the office door is opened. Make sure the first impressions in the reception area and foyer are well received. Use furnishings that are welcoming so they don’t have the appearance of barriers.


Photo: Global Adaptabilities Reception Desk

Look at the DeskMakers Overture Reception Desk as an example of a light color that also brings a unique wood look into the office.

Have comfortable seating arrangements for visitors who need to wait.

You can also check out 2010 Office Furniture’s Office Inspirations page to see how colors, placement of cubicles, and open plan benching impact the surroundings, in conjunction with these interior design office tips.

Light Up Your Spaces

One of the most important interior design office tips is to address your office lighting.

Stream as much natural light as possible. Enlarge windows, use skylights, or create outdoor spaces on patios and balconies.

Natural light is proven to boost morale, aid employees in being as productive as possible, and helping them to sleep well at night.


Photo: Koncept Gravy Desk Light

A well-lit office is part of the overall use of ergonomics. Check for the best lighting accessories so sore and tired eyes don’t become problems.

Desk lamps, floor lamps, and LED concept lights like the Koncept Mr. GO! Lantern, with a curved light handle, provide the right amount of light at the workstation. You can easily move it around the office or to a common waiting area.

Use Natural Materials

Compact offices can be inviting and reflect a brand just like their sprawling corporate counterparts. Eye-catching concepts bring greenery into the office in unique ways like the Nevins Bio Canvas Frame. It’s a maintenance-free collection of moss, bark, and stone on easy-to-install frames.


Photo: Nevins Bio Canvas

Incorporate Green Office design to bring more of nature into the work setting, known as biophilic design. The concept isn’t new; think back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This design helps us renew and rekindle our connection to nature.

Get more ideas and learn from a retail tea shop in Brazil that’s home to a popular brand. The shop uses plenty of natural materials and items like rope on the staircase, as seen on Dezeen.com.

Have a Health-Conscious Focus

Today’s offices can promote employee health through the use of specialty fabrics and plenty of accessories that reduce the spread of harmful bacteria. An example is the Social Distancing Office using antimicrobial fabrics, countertop shields, and privacy screens.


Photo: Enwork Deskwrap Screen

Freestanding screens come in a variety of heights and hues.

Try Plywood

Plywood is well-known in residential construction for walls and as decking on roofs, but you can also use plywood to create stylish offices as seen in the article Ten stylish plywood interiors that give the material a luxurious upgrade.

Create benches or increase your storage using plywood.

The material can act as a warm space divider and sound barrier. Decorate using hanging baskets filled with indoor plants, decorate the wood with fabrics, or both.

Get in Touch for Interior Design Office Tips

Get input on your potential design or re-design with a commitment-free consultation. Our team at 2010 Office Furniture has decades of experience advising and supplying major corporations, leading universities, and small businesses throughout the Los Angeles basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Contact us for more interior design office tips and share your questions.  We’re happy to help!

Read Also: Plan Your Office for the Employee Experience
Main Photo: Friant System 2 Screens
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Deskmakers, Enwork, Global, Koncept, Nevins & ODS

Five Benefits of Using Plants in the Office

Five Benefits Using Plants

Why We Need Plants in the Office

Concerned about office stale air?  Thinking about creating a positive mood? Check your office greenery and consider the five benefits of using plants in the office!  Studies have shown that indoor plants refresh breathing and rejuvenate the spirit. Read on and discover all the great health contributions of having plants in the office.

Plants Tackle Hazardous Materials

In the 1960s, swamp plants in Florida were shown to clean up the devastating effects of Agent Orange, the chemical that the U.S. infamously used during battle in Vietnam. An environmental researcher working with the military, B.C. Wolverton, Ph.D., made the findings and soon worked with NASA to counter-act indoor air pollution.

Sending astronauts to the moon and into orbit for long periods of time in a space station led NASA to clean up the effects of “off-gassing,” the slow release of chemicals from synthetic materials.

Buying quality furniture is important and near the end of this article are easy-to-follow tips to minimize off-gassing.

Plants Aid Office Wellness

By the 1980s, a new term came into being called “Sick Building Syndrome.” Wolverton released a full study by the end of the decade that focused on “energy-efficient buildings” and how both furniture and computer and electronic equipment would “off-gas hundreds of volatile organics.”

Here’s where plants became important. More research from England showed that buildings with the highest levels of microorganisms had the fewest symptoms. And the opposite scenario was true. People who had more ill symptoms worked in mechanically ventilated buildings containing low levels of microorganisms.

Plants Create an Indoor Ecosystem

How do plants work their magic? Water vapor they emit pulls the air’s contaminants to the root levels. The plant then converts it into food and microorganisms in the potting soil do the cleaning work.

Pollutants from the air are absorbed into the plants while they’re taking in carbon dioxide. That’s then turned into oxygen through photosynthesis. Here’s where the microbes come into play. They’re in the potting soil and they do a lot of the cleaning.

Plants Boost the Spirit

A home or office that has nicely placed greenery has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a way to spruce up the look of industrial grade gray. A 2014 study from the University of Exeter that was noted in Science Daily stated that a green office can boost productivity levels by 15%.

Plants also improve the air quality by raising humidity levels which benefits employees who have naturally dry skin and eyes. Dry air can also be troubling for asthma sufferers and spread germs leading to colds and flu.

Plants Absorb Sound

Air contaminants aren’t the only thing that plants absorb. Leaves and stems can capture sound waves and reflect them. That helps boost concentration levels.

In the open office, plants can act as green dividers in many creative ways. Open plan benching workstations could have small plants that are placed every several feet to create personal space.

In spaces with solid walls, plants on shelving can add color.

Recommended Indoor Plants in the Office

The following are some of the recommended plants for a healthy office:

  • Spider plants – known for purifying the air
  • Succulents – easy to care for and work well in small containers
  • Peace Lilly – are good for creating more moisture in the air
  • Aloe – a type of succulent; easy to grow and care for
  • Philodendrons – are popular as hanging plants

Tips to Reduce Off-Gassing From Office Furniture

  • Buy tables and desks that are well crafted.
  • Remove packaging outdoors since that’s where the largest concentration of gas is released.
  • Filter and circulate the air
  • Use plants as noted in this post

Read Also: Designing a Healthy Office
Main Photo: Loftwall Weave Screen
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: Loftwall

 

Get More Work Done with a Green Office

Get More Work Done With A Green Office

Benefits of a Green Office

If you want a more productive office, then create a workplace that is as green as possible. Creating a surrounding that’s green and welcoming is really an investment in people. People have an innate desire to connect with the outside world, literally. Natural light and thriving plants can keep moods up and thinking sharp. Achieve fewer yawns and droopy eyes while using workstations and dividers that have a pleasant appearance and make room for greenery at work. Read on to see how the interior environment becomes more conducive to feeling fresh and alive, especially with a green office.

Natural Light

Want to give your team a competitive edge? An article in the Harvard Business Review referred to natural light as “The Number One Office Perk.” Natural light and outdoor views were more desired as an office benefit than onsite cafeterias, fitness centers and fun events like bringing dogs to the office, according to the HR advisory firm Future Workplace.  Also, survey opinions from 1,614 employees in North America found that 47% of workers felt they didn’t get enough natural light and 43% felt gloomy. Why the craving for light? Future Workplace’s survey linked it to the use of smartphones and other electronic devices. People spend up to four hours a day on mobile devices in addition to working in front of computer screens. Outdoor scenery offers a much-needed visual break throughout the day.

How to Let the Light Flow

Install large size windows, skylights, or solar tubes if possible. In southern California, west-facing windows in the hottest months of the year can get uncomfortable so use a lighter type of fabric that allows light to pass through while blocking the heat.  You can also place desks within 20 feet of windows and use workstations with partitions that are translucent or clear. A frame and tile cubicle system like the Friant marks personal space while offering openness.

Office Plants in Your Green Office

Put living “green” into a green office for even greater productivity. A person’s need to connect with other living things that include plants is called biophilia. The design of workspaces is now taking this need into account. One or two well-placed plants create a visual break just like outdoor scenery. In open bench seating, a small potted plant will change what could otherwise be a monotonous view.  Hanging plants like philodendrons can act like a divider. Walls can also be decorated with succulents. But don’t overdo the concept. Too many plants can create a feeling of being crowded.

4 Benefits of Office Plants

  1. Provide color: green comes in various shades and can add a variety of colors when blooming.
  2. Refresh the air: plants look like they’re sitting in one place, but there’s activity going on that you can’t see. They take the pollutants out of the air and microorganisms at the root level do the scrubbing action.
  3. Aid in Wellness: refreshing the air means there are fewer airborne germs and plants can indirectly aid in the fight against colds and flu. They raise the humidity level which can make the office more comfortable for people with dry skin.
  4. Absorb sound: broad, leafy plants can minimize distracting conversations or music. The buffer is minimal, of course, but leaves and stems redirect sound waves.

Read Also: Five Benefits of Using Plants in the Office
Main Photo: OFS Brands Roo Planters
Resources & Special Thanks to Respective Product Manufacturers: OFS Brands