However open spaces also mean that noise of conversations and phone calls travels more easily too, frustrating employees because their concentration is disturbed and in turn affecting their productivity.
This frustration was confirmed by research carried out by the World Health Organisation in 2018 which found that too much noise can cause annoyance and even stress.
So, if you are planning an office renovation, taking noise levels into your design consideration is a really important part of creating a productive and healthy working environment.
But don’t worry! There are plenty of ways you can reduce noise in your office from the floor up to the ceiling, so read on.
1. Minimising Noise with Your Office Layout
How you organise the floorplan of your office can be really helpful in reducing noise. Putting printers or copiers to one end of a room, partitioning them off or situating them in a separate space can help reduce the effect of their noise on workers.
In the same way, having break out areas or meeting rooms that are in a defined space away from the desk area will allow discussions and animated conversations to take place without distracting other employees.
2. Opting for Furniture with Soft Padding Absorbs Sound
In recent years it has been fashionable to have modern, minimalist offices and whilst they are stylish, they can be a nightmare as sound bounces off bare walls and floors.
Using furniture made with material and padding such as sofas and soft chairs can really help to dampen sound and absorb noise in a busy office space. Filing cabinets and room dividers can also help not only to create distinct spaces, but can also act as a sound barrier.
3. Partitioning Acts as a Sound Barrier
Partitions can be used both free-standing to create separate spaces in a large office, or as dividers between desks. They are often made of soft cushion material which helps to absorb sound. Some offices have desk dividers that are a transparent Perspex. These help stop the sound vibrations travelling across the desk to colleagues, but still allow light to pass through them ensuring an overall feeling of space is maintained.
It is likely that in a big office building the floors are made of concrete. This has a high level of mass and is naturally a sound barrier. In newer or smaller office buildings the flooring may be wooden boards on top of joists, where vibration and noise travel more easily between the floors.
Flooring materials such as carpet and vinyl both have sound absorbing qualities but the life of these and the reduction of noise and vibration can be further enhanced by using specialist underlay.
Underlay comes in different forms including rubber, cork and acoustic matting which is a combination of cork and rubber.
5. Curbing Noise with Your Walls
If you have a very large echoey space in your office, you could consider an acoustic wall. These are made from materials that help to deaden and absorb sound such as fabric-wrapped fibreglass, foam or wood and wool. They are incredibly effective and can look aesthetically pleasing and stylish.
6. Reducing Sound with Plants
Plants can also act as sound barriers helping to stop sound travelling around the office. They are visually appealing helping to break up the office space but also have a positive impact on air quality. Plants such as the Peace Lily are particularly good as they don’t require much natural light. Plant walls that not only provide effective sound barriers but provide a focus to a space are also very popular.
In some office spaces it might be more appropriate to control the noise level with the ceiling. Specialist ceiling panels are now designed to absorb noise and if you have especially high ceilings you can have ceiling pads or acoustic panelling which is dropped down to create a floating ceiling. The ceiling can have the appearance of hardwood or metal for example, but behind it lies sound deadening fabric panels.
So, as you can see you really can reduce the noise level in your office from the floor to the ceiling!
Call the Experts for Your Office Flooring Project
At Rivendell we’re experts in the flooring side of noise reduction. If you’d like a member of our team to come out and visit your site and advise on the best flooring options and materials for your premises or office renovation project simply call 0117 963 7979 to arrange a free no obligation flooring consultation.
This post was written by Binks