By Kira Courpet
Project Manager at officemorph

There is nothing worse than moving into a new office space that is too hard to concentrate in because of poor acoustics. It’s unfortunately a more common problem than it should be, and plagues workspaces of all shapes and sizes. Here are some helpful tips on outfitting an office space that will allow you to focus properly.

Understand the scope and scale of your needs around noise.

During the early stages of planning, expectations around speech privacy acoustics should be defined. Talk with department heads and understand how people work, who spends time on the phone, and who has confidential conversations.

Hire an acoustician.

Acoustical engineers can review your speech privacy and ambient noise requirements and develop solutions that can be implemented into your architectural design. When acousticians and architects partner early on the project, trade-offs can be evaluated to find the perfect intersection between aesthetics, budget, and performance.

Use hard surfaces materials strategically.

Sound bounces off of concrete floors, exposed ceiling decks, and glass – three materials companies love to see in their offices. Consider maintaining partial acoustical ceiling tiles in your workspace – often called “clouds” in lieu of removing ceiling systems entirely. Cover portions of your floors with carpet, area rugs, or other absorbing materials such as cork.

Avoid mechanical sound transfer.

Private conversations can often travel outside of closed doors through ductwork. Installing sound boots to direct noise migrating from one room to another is a simple tactic to implement in mechanical design.

Make adjustments after you move in.

Companies frequently find that some areas of their new offices need additional sound attenuation improvements once the end users occupy. Sound masking or “white noise” systems can be effective in creating a gentle hum that blocks distinctive speech recognition while allowing for a calm focus. The surface application of acoustical panels on walls and ceilings can be an excellent solution, and there are lots of attractive looking options on the market today.

Implementing these efforts can go a long way in creating an environment that both fosters speech privacy and allows for staff to stay focused and productive.