How to Factor Acoustics into Your Office Design

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When you’re working on the design for your office fit-out, it’s easy to zero in on the way things look. Is your office attractive to the eye? Does the spatial planning allow for efficient workflow? If so, you might think your work stops there, but it doesn’t! Your office also needs great acoustics to truly be a complete and thoughtful design.

Too many designers overlook the significance of acoustics in office design. Controlling workplace acoustics is essential for a productive team, especially in open plan offices where the ambient volume can reach distracting levels. Here’s what you can do to better control the volume in your office.

How important are acoustics in office design?

Nearly 70% of today’s office workers are negatively impacted by the volume in their workplace. Once lost, your concentration can take several minutes to recover fully. Too often, this results in greater stress and less productivity, as well as reduced morale and higher turnover in the long run. While it’s possible for a space to be too quiet (total silence can be just as distracting as loud ambient noise), most offices generally strive for as low a volume level as possible. Strive for an ambient volume of about 45dB.

There are other ways to do this outside of conventional design. For example, you can create spaces and quiet zones for staff to break away and work at. You can also situate collaborative areas as far as possible from workers who may spend much of their day on the phone or who would otherwise benefit the most from a quiet space.

How to control acoustics in your office design

  1. Acoustic pods Acoustic pods are isolated working spaces unassigned to any specific worker that offer a temporary reprieve from the ambient noise of the office. Acoustic pods are gaining in popularity as people seek solutions to the drawbacks of open plan office designs.
  2. Sound-absorbent materials Creative use of materials is one of the most effective ways to affect office acoustics through design, but more and more interior designers are finding innovative ways to suppress noise levels. Sound-absorbent fabric wall fixtures can reduce echo, as can slatted ceilings and high-backed furniture.
  3. Avoid crowding – Spatial planning is essential in every aspect of your office design, and acoustics are no exception. Avoid crowding too many workers into the same space. Ideally, you should have about one worker for every seven or eight square meters.
  4. Workplace sound barriers – Open plan offices today usually use clusters of desks to separate teams. Because most of the noise you hear in your office is from the people immediately around you, workstation sound barriers are one of the most effective ways to limit volume.
  5. Isolated conference rooms – Conference rooms are a great way to isolate conversations and remove them from the general workspace, but conference room walls won’t completely suppress the noise of a meeting. Isolate conference rooms by positioning them furthest from workers who need quiet the most and separate them with additional sound barriers or sound masking design elements.

An office design with every element considered

If you’re seeking the best interior design NZ wide for your next office fit-out, make sure you’re working with designers who understand every facet of the design process. At DB Interiors, we appreciate and understand the conditions your business needs to thrive and work hard to achieve them through innovative design. Contact DB Interiors today to book your consultation!

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