Ideas for Noise Reduction through Workspace Design
Office spaces can get really noisy. Whether you’re working in an open space or a private office, the sounds around you can get on your nerves. Having a large, cleanly designed office space can cause more problems with acoustics due to the nature of the bigger space. Luckily, there are many solutions to solve problems with office noise.
In basic terms, an acoustic panel is a sound-absorbing panel that is used to reduce echo and reverberation. An acoustic panel can take many different shapes and forms. One of most common options might be seen is in a concert venue or a large restaurant where there are problems with poor acoustics. These panels help regulate the three principles of acoustics: absorption, diffusion, and attenuation.
Vertical versus Horizontal
Vertical panels and horizontal panels actually serve different purposes with sound absorption. Horizontal panels absorb direct soundwaves, keeping your space far quieter. Vertical panels are often seen in commercial spaces because they are best known for lowering background noise. This happens because it doesn’t directly absorb the sound, but instead stop it from echoing throughout the space.
You can put panels almost anywhere within a space, but knowing some specifics can make your noise reduction at its best performance. Start by thinking about what the space is used for. Is it a large, open office space? A conference room? Then ask yourself what you notice about the acoustics of the space. How many hard surfaces are there? What size is the room? Seeking out professionals for help is a great idea to get the best use of acoustics. In the meantime, here is some advice about the placement of the panels.
In tighter spaces, like conference rooms, offices, breakrooms, the sound waves bounce off the walls. Sound will typically bounce off of hard surfaces in your space. That’s why conference rooms can be particularly tricky. For these types of rooms, both vertical and horizontal wall mounted panels are usually the recommended choice depending on the size and acoustics of the room.
Large spaces and open rooms
Sound waves in larger spaces are tricky because they can easily drop dead before reaching a hard surface, depending on the placement of hard surfaces and location of the noise. It’s not uncommon that the noises will drop off before echoing about the room. Instead of hitting walls like small spaces, they often hit the ceiling. Keep in mind how far your wavelength has to travel before hitting a wall. While vertical panels are a great choice for these rooms, hanging panels from the ceiling are often more effective.
You don’t have to sacrifice your workspace design to include acoustic panels; instead, try hanging them from the ceiling, or incorporating them into a modular wall or artistic statement piece. There are even certain lighting installations that incorporate acoustic panels to create a beautiful design element that still helps with sound management. They are easy to manipulate into a stylish art installation.
Whether that takes the form of a wall with wavy tiles or geometric shapes, your options are practically limitless. Panels can also come in almost any color you can think of. Despite knowing the difference between horizontal and vertical panels, don’t let that stop you from creating an eye-catching design. Panels with fun design are a great alternative to cubicles. With a fun design, your office will look even better than before. That’s a promise.
While noise reducing panels are a great solution, there are definitely other options. Using modular walls to create spaces for the noisiest places in the office and protect workers from unnecessary sounds coming across the room is a great solution. The constant sound of a printer beeping can be extremely irritating and distracting. Using modular walls to create a space to put all the public and loud equipment like printers and paper shredders can cut down on noise without sacrificing your workplace design.
While you can’t keep the entire workplace quiet, you can create silent rooms using modular walls. It’s probably not possible to get everyone a private office, so having small, comfortable, quiet offices where your employees can sneak away to work in is really important. These private rooms can be significant for both peace and noise. Taking your conference calls or loud conversations to a private room can help your fellow employees focus.
The simplest changes in your office can make a large difference in controlling your noise issues within the office. While wood and finished concrete can be a stylish choice, it is a large culprit of noise pollution. The best solutions are carpet or vinyl flooring. Adding a rubber layer makes an amazing difference–not to mention a boost in comfort for your standing employees.
Putting some white noise in the background can help soften the noise of your co-workers. Some prefer a gentle hum, while others prefer the sound of waves crashing or a gentle rain. Try these different sounds before deciding if white noise might be a great addition to your office space. Make sure you keep it subtle.
Sound pollution is greatly influenced by furniture and the contents of the workplace. Adding high backed couches and softer furniture items help absorb the sound, just like acoustic panels do.
Not only does incorporating noise reducing ideas in your workplace help your business, it can even make it more stylish. If you’ve heard of living walls, you might have found the perfect place to put one. Plant walls can be extremely effective in dampening the sounds of the office. Think of how quiet nature can be. This is one step closer to that peace. Not only has your design improved, your health benefits from a living wall have improved greatly–both physically and mentally.
Connect with the industry’s most experienced team to learn more about acoustics in your workplace!