Acoustics in the Workplace

Office acoustics are vital to employee productivity, creativity and comfort. Research has shown that the thing that troubles people the most is not the noise level but rather the lack of privacy, both in terms of hearing what other people are saying and having their own conversations overheard. This can make employees more anxious, stressed and apprehensive. Whilst a quarter of other workers have stated that they were dissatisfied with the level of noise at work as over a half of the workers within open plan offices citied their lack of privacy as a major frustration.

Overlooking sound within a working environment can cause many difficulties and can affect us profoundly as It can change our heartbeat, breathing, brain waves, emotions and cognition. Trying to perform daily work tasks in a space in which other’s conversations can be heard can be very difficult as workers may be processing other conversations that are happening within the space, so this can cause limited capacity and productivity for their current task which they are hoping to achieve. So, the question does arise, do we need to work in silent offices? That’s a no-no too! Silence can cause the environment to become negative and intimidating (as an example making a phone call), so therefore there must be the right ambience of sound within the working environment created.

Office acoustics are often an afterthought in the working environment due to the current architectural trend of the building. General materials used in establishments include glass, concrete, exposed brick and sheet metal. Although these materials can look beautiful and create fantastic aesthetics, they can create a poor acoustic environment. These hard, flat surfaces enable soundwaves to bounce around at high speeds from ceilings to furniture, so ultimately the way a building is designed can have a significant impact on noise levels within the interior.

There are several basic elements to address in order to resolve issues with noise within a building and these can include ceiling systems, sound making systems, systems’ furniture, flooring and interior design. Today’s offices have a more open plan design which can enable more collaboration within work teams and increase productivity. One of the new challenges they can bring are increased noise levels which can mean more echoing and sound to contend with. Conversion of old factories and industrial buildings to office workspaces are becoming more popular, so office acoustics must be considered in these large, open plan spaces. Much older buildings may have high ceilings, heavy concrete use and other hard surfaces which will create noise however there are many ways to improve the acoustics of a workspace whilst preserving the open plan layout.

Acoustic Panels

Sound is absorbed through softer materials whilst it can bounce off more hard surfaces. Considering acoustic panels on walls, ceilings and partitions between spaces can dramatically reduce noise. Acoustic panels can give more options for designing modern workspaces enabling custom looks which can look spectacular whilst improving the interior and your workers creativity.

You can use brand colours and design to enhance your working environment. Decorative panels can be used to build and cover existing furniture within the space such as use on bookcases, at the sides of desks and worktables, as well as on the walls and ceilings of a room. Acoustic panels can even be used to create privacy screens around conference and meeting areas or to absorb sound around surrounding desk areas.

Baffles and Clouds

Offices which are short of space to install panels but have a high ceiling, baffles or clouds are perfect to control the sound within the space. Baffles extend downward from the ceiling and can be combined with light fixtures or even turned into decorative sculptures. Baffles can look sleek and stylish in the right environment. Suspended panels can look astounding in more large spaces and can be combined with other acoustic products to control the sound level within a busy space.


An open design screen can help reduce sound and offer privacy whilst preserving the open feeling of space. Screens can be decorative and impact the style of the room whilst assisting with the sound control of the workspace. Perfect for separating the room into small meeting/conference areas or into a breakout area with limited space.

Acoustic Tiles

Acoustic tiles come in a variety of different geometric designs and colours. From how the tiles are placed, you can even be innovative and create unique wall art within the space whilst achieving efficient sound control. The tiles can be used to reflect the company’s brand and image with all the variety of shapes and colours.

Modular Screens

These easily can be set up within minutes and can be placed around breakout areas, meeting areas or anywhere that staff can get instant privacy and quietness enabling sound control. They can be stacked discreetly out of sight when not in use and retain a high amount of functionality and flexibility for the use of employees.