1. SOFTEN UP HARD SURFACES
From furniture to flooring and layout, it all matters. Every surface either absorbs or reflects sound as it travels through a space. Harder furniture will ultimately reflect noise and carry it beyond cubicles and designated areas.
A great amount of noise pollution can come from flooring surfaces alone. Hard surfaces like natural wood, porcelain, and ceramic can produce a large amount of sound pollution in an open office space. Our experts recommend any vinyl flooring as a softer alternative.
Break room style couches and soft plush seat coverings will absorb sound as well as break up an open office. Providing employees with a dedicated quiet space will also help employees understand how to utilize and interact with the space. We will touch on this more!
Lastly, if you plan on making any structural changes to your space, opting for fiberglass or cellulose wall insulation and swapping hollow doors for solid alternatives!
2. OFFER DEDICATED AREAS
Acoustics suffer most when employees work in an open collaborative environment with few dedicated areas and lack of noise management.
As previously mentioned, using soft furniture as a buffer between loud and quiet areas is very effective.
Often times, offices will provide conference rooms and breakout areas for small meetings, phone calls, etc. This allows employees to move freely around the space and provides a social structure for team collaborating or working quietly.
Allowing freedom of movement will create a flexible environment that caters to all working styles. The last thing anyone wants in an office is to compromise productivity!
3. INTEGRATION OF ACOUSTIC ART
If you are past the stages of fabrication for your office and still looking to improve your acoustics, we recommend acoustic art.
There are a few companies which specialise in acoustic art with a wide range of products including branded art, healing art, custom collages, photography, and wall coverings while working closely with you to provide the right acoustical solution for your spatial needs.
Acoustic panels are very versatile. Divider panels are moveable, and all art is interchangeable.
The seamless acoustic fabric can reach up to 100 feet long and is dry cleanable as well. Floating panels have the option of single or double sided art. For many office spaces acoustic panels provide the perfect option of privacy and collaboration.
There is something to be said for the power of nature. Plants are known for their endless qualities when it comes to contributing to the well-being of people and places. However, one of their less known attributes is their ability to reduce excess sound!
Leaves, stems, and branches are considered flexible materials which will deflect and refract noise through vibration as it travels.
Leafy ferns and fiddle leaf figs are great for contrasting hard surfaces and filling gaps that soft furniture can’t cover. They are much more effective in spaces with hard surfacing such as concrete, marble, or glass as shown above. Not to mention they are always aesthetically pleasing and create a homey atmosphere for workers and customers alike.
- Placing a plant in the corner of a room is best, so it can absorb sound as soon as it bounces off of the walls.
- Several small plants is better than one large one!
5. TEST OUT SOUND MASKING
Depending on company culture, music can be a great way to help people focus while also drowning out distracting chatter, HVAC, and other office noises.
Music can also help a company brand itself and introduce a sensory experience for its employees as well as visitors.
Masking less popular sounds with more popular ones has proven to be surprisingly effective, especially when it comes to white noise like rainfall or random sounds of nature. This technique is known as sound masking.
It has become increasingly popular for companies who want to drown out unattractive noises, but continue promoting productive conversations.
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