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I often hear the complaint of how noisy open plan offices are!
”Huh what was that” you say!?

Given the fact that open plan offices are here to stay due to the ever-increasing cost of floor space and city density I’m going to share with you my 4 top tips for helping to reduce the noise, so you can get rid of the unwanted sound and get back to being positive & productive.

1. OFFICE LAYOUT

Review your office layout. Look at the types of activities that take place within the office environment. I hate to state the obvious but if your quiet zones are right next to the coffee station, this probably isn’t the best locations for them! Cluster ‘noisy’ activities like breakout spaces, work cafes and informal meeting areas together. Then group the ‘quiet zones’ such as quiet rooms and open workstations. What you will have left are the ‘intermediate zones’ like meeting spaces. These can then be the buffer between the quiet and noisy areas.

Office Layout Diagram

2. WORKSTATIONS

Review what type of open office workstations and partition system you are currently using. The partition is king! He is the most important bit to absorb old mate Johnny’s voice from 10 desks away! Make sure the partition is at least the height of Johnny’s head to catch the projected vverbal diarrhea!

There are SO many different types of materials that the partitions can be made from – melamine, perspex, MDF covered in fabric, 12mm thick acoustic panels (Woven Image-Echopanel, Baresque-Zintra, etc). Obviously the latter is going to be the best at absorbing sound given it’s thickness and acoustic properties.

3. MATERIALS & FINISHES

Review the general materials & finishes used in your environment. All hard surfaces such as walls, windows, and ceramic tiles won’t absorb much sound. There needs to be softer, sexier surfaces – think carpet, curtains/blinds, artwork/canvases, furniture, greenery, cushions, pendant lighting (fabric covered), even the good ol pinboard can help!

4. ADDITIONAL ACOUSTIC TREATMENTS

In addition to your existing materials and finishes you can install specific sound absorbing treatments. Now this is the bit you want to hear…These are a quick, extremely effective and easy on the pocket solutions and are absolutely fantastic for retrofitting to an existing open space.

The benefit of installing these specific acoustic products is that they are specifically made to reduce reverberation and unwanted sound, therefore they come with an NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) rating which means you can know exactly how much of the sound will be soaked up by the product before you purchase & install! Winning!

These acoustic products come in all types of forms – ceiling baffles, canvas artwork, 3D wall tiles, free-standing room dividers, large sheets (perforated, textured or digitally printed), or on a roll to cover entire walls or whatever you like really!

Acoustic Ceiling Baffles
Custom Acoustic Wall Panels
3D Wall Tiles
3D Wall Tiles

So there you have it, my 4 solutions to your noisy open plan office – ”but what about my gym?” you ask. dont stress, these principles can apply to ANNNNNY space – gym, bowling alley, classroom, restaurant, hotel lobby, wherever.

Raising your voice to have a general convo isn’t fun! ”Huh, What did you say?”
We want you to have enjoyable stress-free experiences in the spaces you inhabit. If you are experiencing acoustic challenges in your commercial space, please get in touch, we’d love to help.

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Stefney Schultz

Stefney excels in design. She has successfully delivered beautiful and functional interiors, to happy clients, many of which have gone on to win awards.
Stefney Schultz
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