Acoustics is defined as the science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound.
Within the context of the modern office and it’s predominantly open-plan format, noise pollution and poor acoustics are the single biggest cause of distractions and loss in concentration.
This, in turn, has a detrimental impact on productivity. Research commissioned by Brother demonstrates that it typically takes 15 minutes for an employee to regain their concentration after being distracted by unnecessary noise.
Whilst it is impossible to fully eliminate all sounds from an office environment, there are a number of solutions available which can reduce distracting noises. Our design team, don’t just design with their eyes, they design with their ears. We adopt the A, B, C approach of absorbing, blocking and covering to help reduce noise pollution:
Absorbtion: A typical office design will feature a number of fixtures and fittings which can carry a natural acoustic rating. These include ceiling tiles, floor finishes and wall panels. The office furniture industry has embraced the need to improve acoustics too. Not only can desk mounted screens be made from more absorptive materials, soft seating ranges for social spaces feature higher backs, cocoons, meeting booths and pods, giving much greater privacy, both acoustically and privacy.
Blocking: Most partition walls are built from the surface of a raised floor, to the underside of a suspended ceiling. This allows sound to travel in the voids of the ceiling and under the floor. Vertical sound barriers help to block this sound transfer.
In the more recent trend towards a ‘defurb’ office – where suspended ceilings have been removed to leave a structural ceiling slab, sound transfer is even worse. Vertically positioned acoustic barrier screens can be fitted to break up and block noise transfer.
Covering: Covering, or ‘masking’ sound has long been considered one of the most effective and least expensive methods of reducing noise pollution. This involves using an audio system to block out the most distracting of noises and return the working environment to a more harmonious level of ‘comfortable’ noise’.