The unfairly neglected office acoustics
In relation to workplace ergonomics the first thing that comes into our mind is the well-adjusted chair, the proper height of monitor, the optimal light conditions or temperature. However, the unfairly neglected noise reduction is also an important part of it. Acoustic design provides a solution here.
Less sick leave, better performance.
Scientific experiment demonstrated that the precondition of effective work is an environment which is free of echo, reverb and excessive noise.
This was the complaint of employees who explained in a research published in the journal Ergonomics that their concentration was disturbed by the telephone ringing and people talking in the background.
Open-plan office – decreasing effectiveness?
With the hope of greater productivity, the original purpose of the modern, open-plan office is to help the interaction and cooperation among colleagues.
It seems however that in practice the opposite occurs.
Another study pointed out the risks of the open-plan offices from the noise pollution point of view: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26366940
It was also confirmed by the research of Cornell University in which 40 office workers had to work during three hours at the noise level equals to the average noise level of an open-plan office. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11055149
As a result of it the adrenaline level of the participants decreased, they solved fewer tasks and were far less motivated than in a quiet, acoustically treated office environment.
Acoustics in the office
When we think of an open-plan office a huge space appears in front of our eyes in which desks and chairs are placed in various ways. Besides these there is almost no other furniture.
In this spacious room people are talking, making phone calls, phones are ringing, printers and copy machines are working, perhaps air cleaning, air conditioning machines are also operating.
Office acoustic regulations
From acoustic point of view, it is important that materials used in office buildings are mainly concrete and glass which have excellent sound reflection properties thus they amplify even further the unwanted sounds.
Based on office acoustic regulations 45-55 dB is given for regular office activity. If this value is higher the effectiveness of workers decreases.
The noise level of an open-plan office oscillates above 60-65 dB on average. When two people are talking to each other from one meter distance in normal voice level it equals to roughly 60 dB.
If it happens at a continuous background noise it not only worsens the communication between the parties but may lead to fatigued colleagues.
Noise reduction is an important element of the workplace ergonomics – acoustics
It is clear by now that working in a noisy environment is not advantageous neither for the employee nor for the employer.
Besides the already broadly used elements of office ergonomics like the conventional and widely accepted seat comfort the sound insulation and absorption i.e. this fact is increasingly emphasized.
Effective working by treating the acoustics of the room.
In open-plan offices colleagues can only work effectively with optimal acoustics accessories. The most important task is the proper acoustic treatment of the workstations grouped, the meeting room and the communication area.
To achieve this the adequate selection and proper placement of sound absorbing units is essential in an office environment. Sound absorbing panels kill or filter the unwanted echoes, knocking and excessive sounds in a working environment.
Room acoustics – also for waiting rooms, restaurants
Acoustic treatment can increase effectiveness in many working environments and also provide well-being for the employees, customers, and guests.
Besides offices and meeting rooms noise reduction and speech comprehension is vital also in waiting rooms, concert halls, studio rooms and restaurants. With the acoustic treatment we can significantly improve the communication opportunities, concentration ability, performance and stress can be reduced.
Perfect Acoustic is the solution for your company
The speciality of Perfect Acoustic is the room acoustics, the noise reduction in a working environment.
- We can define the exact parameters by on site acoustic measurement.
- Thereafter as part of acoustic planning we compile the list of tools by which the acoustic problems and imperfections can be ceased based on the measured values and the parameters of the given room.
- The improvement of room acoustics is achieved with acoustic panels. Upon measurement we can tell exactly at which point of the office what type of panel should be placed in order to reach the desired result.
- Acoustic panels can be prepared in different colours and patterns, even with unique photo e.g. company logo. Depending on the type of the panel they can be placed on the floor or mounted on the wall.
- The panels are made of quality materials, covered with imitation of leather or acoustic velvet, with sophisticated finishing which based on the customer’s requirement suit the style of the working environment.
Open-plan offices have many benefits. It improves cooperation and communication between colleagues, develops the workplace community, which promotes the birth of thoughts and creative ideas. However, continuous background noise has several negative effects on our body. The rustling of office machines, talking to colleagues or the ringing and vibration of telephones, as well as external noises, also adversely affect memory. It is more difficult for us to store information in our memory. No matter how much we focus on the tasks we have to perform, we cannot rule out the events and sounds taking place around us. With the use of appropriate materials developed specifically for acoustic purposes, noise reduction and ideal acoustics of offices can be successfully solved. High-quality, efficient sound-absorbing acoustic elements have a flexible structure and a high density, so they can be a perfect solution for improving the acoustics of offices.
Tips for noise reduction in offices:
1., It is important not to ignore the ceiling surfaces! Be sure to place acoustic elements in these areas.
2.Vertical sound-absorbing panels on wall surfaces are extremely effective.
3. Noise can also be reduced with room dividers.
4. It is recommended to place acoustic curtains in front of the windows.
5. The noise reduction of office wheelchairs can be solved with a floor mat.
6. Sound-absorbing ceiling dividers can be used to prevent the propagation of noise.
7. Step noises can be eliminated with carpets.
8. If possible, do not place the individual workbenches and booths too close to each other.
9. Soundproof rooms are required for important meetings.
10. Soundproofed windows and doors also help to overcome noise problems.
Written by: Róbert Polgár