Open-plan workspaces are becoming more and more popular and there has been a debate going on about the benefits it has. Acoustic experience is one of the most common issues people have with open concept offices. The work environment is where people need to concentrate and collaborate, and it can be a challenge to have conversations and stay focused. The task is finding a compromise to control the noise.
A good way of overcoming the hurdle is to integrate acoustic planning when you design the space. Most treat acoustics as an afterthought, but below are reasons why it is important to consider acoustics in the early stages of planning.
People against open-plan workplaces argue that it harms productivity. There are a lot of environmental distractions, from phone or video conferencing, face-to-face conversations, the coffee machine, chairs moving, the list continues. More workplaces are moving towards Activity Based Working (ABW), which means people are not going to spend a lot of time on one stationary desk, instead, they are going to move between different areas to focus and work. Acoustic plays an important role when it comes to areas that need lower noise levels and more insulation is required. This can be done by using sound-absorbing materials for the doors, walls, and flooring.
Confidentiality and security
The main idea behind open-plan workspaces is to promote transparency, but there is a need for enclosed meetings where people can have confidential meetings. When designing offices and meeting rooms, it is important to consider acoustics, because it is going to maintain a level of privacy for open-plan workspaces.
Morale and wellness
There is regular work stress, but excessive noise levels can increase that for some individuals. It can lead to reduced productivity in the workplace and even absenteeism.
Acoustics are important in workspaces the same way they are in learning spaces, according to Dr Try Byers from Melbourne University. He argues against large open plan classrooms and points to a correlation between teaching outcomes and learning and the physical performance of a classroom.
Sound has a psychological, physiological, behavioural, and cognitive effect on us. The consequences of poor acoustic design in learning environments can lead to problems for both the students and educators alike. See here for structure-borne noise.
Purpose of space
Depending on the purpose and needs of the space, and when it is going to be used, knowing the acoustic ratings of the partitions and doors is going to determine the ones to use. When it comes to acoustics in large venue spaces that have multiple sections or rooms that may be in use at a given time, it is important to plan carefully so it serves its purpose. Take your time to make sure that acoustics have been considered when designing the space.
These factors are going to have a big impact on performance outcomes for teams and individuals alike, whether they are learning in a classroom, working in an office, or using the space for a given event. This is why it is important to apply accurate and up-to-date acoustic knowledge when you design the spaces.
Newly tested suites
The following variables were extensively tested to obtain sliding and door suites for The acoustic ratings Criterion’s partition:
- Partition framing options including double and single glaze
- Glass thickness