Acoustic solutions for the office
We're exposed to a variety of sounds throughout the day. What we find pleasant or irritating varies. But plenty of people complain that the office is too loud. In fact, noise is often cited as the number one irritation factor in the workplace.
In medical terms, high noise levels affect concentration and damage health. Noise increases stress levels and compromises efficiency. This was discovered at the Cornell University in Ithaca by American psychologists. Professor of Environmental Psychology Gary Evans found out in his studies that people employed in loud offices were around 40% less likely to attempt to solve technical or specialist problems.
When covering your ears is not the answer
We are programmed by our evolution to use our capacity to hear at all times. Everyone interprets noise differently.
Conversations and ringing telephones can be distracting, especially in open spaces. It's really hard to focus your attention on something else in that situation. The only thing you can do to mitigate this is to adopt a space management strategy that incorporates acoustic solutions and quiet zones. König + Neurath offers a range of ideas that can be used in all office situations:
1. Acoustic optimisation
The industry association for office and the workplace (Industrieverband Büro und Arbeitswelt) recommends that all offices should be analysed to evaluate their reverberation properties. If there is a lot of reverb, it affects the way people cope with noise. The reverb time can be shortened by implementing sound-absorbing measures. These can be used on ceilings, walls, lights and furniture surfaces or partitions. It's a sensible idea to go for a good mix, because this will ensure protection from different types of noise. Our acoustic screens and cupboards can improve the acoustics in the immediate workstation area.
When the meeting's being held at the desk next door, it's bound to be a distraction. We plan office space and rooms according to their use in our projects, using room systems and similar to create spatial distancing, which makes things noticeably less stressful. For informal meetings we design communication areas with upholstered elements to reduce noise. At the desks themselves, fabric-covered screens are used to provide additional shielding and privacy. Screens such as INSIDE.50 or INSIDE.25 zone off workstation areas and provide quieter areas.
3. Room-in-room systems
Another solution you can use to structure open spaces practically, efficiently and flexibly is our room-in-room solutions. We have a range of options, from the smallest variants like the telephone booths QUIET.BOX and QUIET.BOX Duo, to top-quality, exclusive meeting rooms with acoustic optimisation like THINK.TANK or THINK.TANK.II. Our self-contained room-in-room solutions guarantee acoustic protection, climate control, dimmable lighting and electrics for diverse working situations. These high-quality workstations provide an opportunity for privacy, so that all team members can focus on their work even within open office concepts.
Sources used: "Noise causes stress" at: https://iba.online/en/designing-rooms/acoustics/
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