Office and Workplace Acoustics
The modern office presents challenges to architects and designers as they try to create a light, open and welcoming space whilst allowing for everyday functionality. The aesthetically pleasing clean modern architecture consisting of hard surfaces, glass panels and open spaces, unfortunately has acoustic consequences if not effectively treated – reverberation occurs as sound reflects between hard surfaces.
Reverberation is the measure of time that an echo takes to decay – a long decay can make speech intelligibility challenging. In real terms, in a face-to-face meeting, multiple voices will be harder to decipher. In video conferencing meetings, so typical now in a post-covid business environment, software filters and microphones will struggle to manage the complexities of the speech patterns and sound that’s being produced within the space.
The communication process both between colleagues and clients needs to be as efficient as possible – a reverberant environment naturally produces micro-delays and communication pauses between users. The repetition of information and slowing of conversation is frustrating for all. With large open plan offices, an increase in the use of video and online learning, plus the exponential rise in video conferencing, effective work spaces with balanced acoustics are more important than ever . Limiting any intrusive background noises entering a meeting room should be a fundamental part of office design. Through the correct implementation of acoustic absorption panels and acoustic doors, windows and partitions, this noise problem can be effectively mitigated.
Architectural absorptive panels for walls and ceilings can complement and enhance the aesthetic, adding design and functional presence with printed artwork finishes – once fitted a significant improvement to speech intelligibility is typically experienced. IAC Acoustics Absorbatone™ panels can provide an absorptive solution, integrated within an initial architectural design, while also being used as a retrofit solution to an existing office space to lower the reverberation time and improve the acoustic qualities of the working environment. In larger meeting spaces and conferencing, alongside absorption for reverberation, space division in the form of movable walls and sliding folding partitions, such as IAC Acoustics Trackwall™ systems, can enhance the overall design and effective use of the space while managing noise breakout. Architects and acousticians typically work cohesively in new office and commercial environment acoustic design. However across the UK there are thousands of office buildings, work spaces and meeting environments that haven’t had the benefit of full acoustic design consideration.
IAC Acoustics is able to support the improvement of these work spaces through initial discussion and review of the problems and potential solutions. As a single source solution provider, we can ensure a comprehensive and effective solution to manage acoustic issues from design through to manufacture and installation. With a range of architectural solutions including acoustic absorption, doors, windows, operable walls and fully glazed sliding folding partitions, we can enhance the acoustic performance of any working environment to ensure it is capable of meeting the needs of both the business and its users. Good acoustics makes for a better performing and more effective workplace – businesses are recognising this as a fundamental provision and are increasingly looking to invest and enhance workplace acoustics for the well-being and engagement of their team members.
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