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: AMQ, Loftwall, Maverick, MergeWorks, Scandinavian Spaces, Snowsound