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Five Principles for Promoting Acoustic Comfort in the Workplace

When it comes to designing interior spaces, people tend to focus on the functional and visual aspects of the design rather than acoustic comfort. Acoustic comfort in the workplace contributes to the well-being and productivity of employees but is rarely given due attention. Creating a comfortable environment for employees not only helps them concentrate but promotes optimal performance and increases the allure of commuting to your physical office space. High-quality planning combined with thoughtful application of architectural elements will go a long way in promoting acoustic comfort in the workplace. Below are five guiding principles to help create an acoustically comfortable environment.

Shared Spaces

Collaboration is one of the biggest draws of the modern workplace, and employees end up spending almost 50% of their time away from their designated seats. Activities like meetings, private discussions, brainstorming, and even catching up with a friend are all dependent on a space that has acoustic comfort. Creating effective shared spaces will not just help in reducing the overall noise, but will improve speech privacy, which can be an important part of a workplace dynamic. 

Flexible Solutions for Evolving Workplaces

Open offices offer great flexibility in terms of furniture and equipment placement, but they can also get really noisy. One way to manage acoustic comfort in these spaces and at the same time keep its ‘openness’ intact is through the use of flexible barriers. Movable room dividers, partitions, desk screens, and acoustic panels can be used to bring privacy and absorb noise for modern, evolving spaces. Each of these flexible solutions are extremely efficient and can be stored easily.

Better Planning of Workplace ‘Interaction Spaces’

Public spaces like break rooms are particularly noisy and should not be in the middle of the workplace. These spaces should be placed along major circulation paths so that the traffic does not interrupt the quieter zones of the office. Interaction spaces should be planned far away from focus spaces such as meeting rooms and private offices so that employees can focus on completing their tasks. 

Designing for Sound

Full office spaces with employees and constantly running equipment will generate a lot of noise. The focus should be on addressing this noise and designing a space for sound. Each workspace should integrate the use of sound absorptive materials to control the reflected sound and background noise within the area. Masking background noise is very useful in workspaces with lots of chatter, telephone calls, use of printers, paper shredders, and more. 

Acoustic Comfort with Safety

While you are insulating your workplace, ensure that all the solutions and materials you use promise safety from fires. While acoustic comfort is very important, having your employees get home from work safely is the most important thing. Fires will not be an issue if you are using experts to plan your sound and acoustic solutions rather than doing something like that on your own. Plan accordingly, and stay safe!