Workplace In Focus: All About Acoustics

Employees in modern workplace

Workplace In Focus: All About Acoustics

In our Workplace in Focus series, the RI team is coming together to highlight WHAT MAKES THE IDEAL OFFICE. Of course, we believe every workplace is different and should always be designed to fit the needs of those engaging with the space. But the key mechanics of intelligent design apply to all workplaces: space usage, acoustics, lighting, comfort, community and flexibility, to name a few. 

Starting this month, we’re focusing on acoustics and how sound can both negatively and positively impact the employee experience and therefore, make or break your office design.

Did you know?

Companies who take their office acoustics into account will find employees to be more productive, satisfied, healthy and happy.

The Problem

Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the top complaints amongst office workers is noise and distractions. Following the post-pandemic shift to remote working, the growing hesitancy to return to the office can be attributed to the excessive noise experienced within an open office environment. In fact, according to a study reported by the Wall Street Journal, once distracted, it can take a worker up to 23 minutes to regain concentration on a task. Bad acoustics are one of the major causes of lower productivity, misunderstandings, errors, stress, disgruntled staff and even headaches.

The Solution

In the words of our Design Director, Komel Saeed:
“Balance between hard and soft surfaces with the right acoustic solutions can create a workplace environment that is supportive to your staff’s needs. Having an aesthetically pleasing office and not being acoustically resilient automatically makes the work environment not functional. As a designer, I evaluate each area/room’s materials and function independently from the overall space and propose acoustic solutions as I see fit.”

Acoustics set the tone of your workplace. That’s why it’s important to make sure the acoustics in your workplace are designed to suit the collaboration patterns of your team. Balance is key: while many find it difficult to concentrate amongst chattering colleagues, others find it hard to focus in awkward silence.

Sound doesn’t have to be a barrier to productivity in your workplace. When designing and constructing the perfect office, it’s critical to utilize eye-catching and effective sound-absorbing and sound-masking materials to combat acoustical challenges; helping to provide the perfect balance of sound within your office. Not only do these solutions leverage sound purposefully to boost your team’s productivity, they also add a unique and aesthetically-pleasing vibe to your workplace.

Sound absorbing Ceiling Panels

RI’s sound solution options are customizable and endless. By utilizing soft, absorptive materials in the form of ceiling, wall, hanging or free-standing panels, sound-absorbing solutions soak up noise energy and eliminate echoes and reverberations within a space. 

Sound absorbing Wall Panels

Alternatively, sound-masking products can eliminate distractions by adding more noise. Sounds strange, right?  Not really…this simple technique strategically positions discreet speakers to sound white noise, distracting the human ear from voices and conversations in the office. This essentially makes an office easier to concentrate in and has the added benefit of eliminating any awkward silence.

Top Tip

To discover whether or not your staff are suffering from poor acoustics in your workplace, begin by asking them to tally how many times they get distracted by conversations that don’t pertain to them in just one day. When redesigning your workplace, it’s a good idea to consider both sound-absorbing and sound-masking options.


Get in Touch

If you’re ready to discuss your office acoustics and how to create the ideal office for your people, get in touch with RI today. 

Let’s work together

If you’d like to talk about a project, an idea, ask a question, or just want to know a bit more what we can do