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Offices today are more open and designed for ‘collaboration’ than ever before, with studies showing that an open office floor plan helps to increase employee productivity and innovation. However, although open setups may make it easier for employees to communicate and collaborate, they also bring about some unique challenges, particularly increased noise levels. Poor workplace acoustics and not having somewhere private to make calls or to concentrate are among the most common issues reported by employees when asked about open office design.
Here are five ways you can help optimise sound levels in your open office while still preserving an open and collaborative environment.
1. Acoustic Panels
Sound is absorbed through softer materials and bounces off harder surfaces, so consider using acoustic panels on walls, ceilings and partitions between spaces to absorb sound.
If your office is so open that there aren’t really any dividing surfaces to install panels on, acoustic baffles also offer very effective sound control. They extend down from the ceiling and can be combined with light fixtures or incorporated into the office décor to help absorb and control sound throughout the room without compromising on aesthetic.
3. Acoustic Tiles
Acoustic tiles are ideal for smaller areas requiring targeted sound control such as an employee lounge area or meeting space.
Acoustic panels tend to be fixed and need a fixed surface to be installed onto, so they can close off a space and potentially compromise the objective of an open office design. Acoustic screens on the other hand help deaden sound and offer some privacy while still preserving the open feeling of the workspace.
5. Modular screens
Taking flexibility to an extreme, modular screens can be used to temporarily corner off a portion of space when you need instant privacy and sound control, so they are particularly suited to open offices in which workstations and working practices are often not fixed or permanent. A modular screen can be set up in seconds and stored out of sight when not in use, allowing the office space to remain as open and fluid as possible.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.