In today’s office environment, acoustics is becoming ever more important due to the nature of open plan offices, but can it be completely omitted. In my opinion, no, but you can certainly absorb it resulting in a much better environment to work in.
It is essential to design your open plan office to absorb as much sound as possible, as the sound will just reverberate around the room and build if not, which will create a lot of frustration within the office.
When designing a space we will incorporate as many elements as possible that will help to absorb noise. Many of these elements are very practical and functional within the office space such as upholstery on seating, carpet tiles etc. There are some really great products on the market, high back booths and seating pods for example which will keep noise from travelling and also absorb the sounds around them. We can also incorporate acoustic wall panels, perforated ceilings, carpet tiles and acoustic partitions, which all help to absorb unwanted noise in your office space. It is however, very important to integrate these elements into the design from an aesthetic point of view but to also insure that the purpose of these elements is understood and are not cut out of the design when value engineering.
So what is the driving factor behind the introduction to acoustics in the open plan office? Concentration of course, much in the same way that collaboration encouraged the rise of the open plan office. There has been a significant shift towards accommodating concentration to promote productivity, as well as wellbeing. While the open plan office has many positive factors, office workers are struggling to find somewhere quiet to work. There are many tasks that need to be carried out in an office space, and a quiet space is essential from some of them. Research shows that it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus the mind after being interrupted, and the average time between these interruptions is only 11 minutes.
So, I would say that it is essential to have a mix of task led spaces within your office to allow your staff to carry out their task at hand without hampering the productivity of others.
If you are planning an office project, we would be delighted to meet with you for a chat. Just contact us here.
The Think Contemporary Team.