In the recent years, we have seen a rise of noise levels in our working environment.Adopting a more open plan approach to workspaces encourages communication and teamwork, which increases efficiency and synergy within. While open plan offices have many advantages, one major draw back is the amount of noise that can be created.
There are three paths by which sound travels: a direct path which is the straight line between the source and receiver; a reflected path which occurs as sound bounces off various surfaces; and a diffracted path which involves sound bending over the top and around the sides of partitions. The control of sound in an open office requires consideration of all three paths.
Sound affects the way we feel and behave. In the working environment, sound is particularly critical. Complaints in the office often involve the lack of speech privacy, high noise levels and the distraction of overheard extraneous conversations. These complaints can have a negative impact in the working environment, increasing staff frustration and decreasing efficiency.
The introduction of acoustic and sound absorbent products into a noisy working environment can help in many ways. By introducing temporary half height screens, we can successfully block out direct paths. One way to interrupt reflected paths is with wall and ceiling mounted panels, which absorb and dissipate incoming sound.
There are some simple and practical ways in which you can help to reduce noise levels. Introducing task specific areas for your staff, like dedicated collaboration zones, private telephone areas or semi-private meeting spaces can have a positive impact on both staff morale and working environments.