Most offices these days retain an open plan layout. The open-plan design has been the go-to option for office-based businesses across the world for almost one hundred years, since the style first appeared in the 1940’s.
When you hear noise, you’re not only hearing the original noise, but the sound of that noise bouncing around the office. There are many surfaces in the office that will accentuate noise… including floors, ceilings, walls and windows. In fact, almost everything in your workplace will contribute to sound bouncing around your office.
Unfortunately, this noise poses quite a problem for your employees and your business as a whole. For instance, employees who work in a noisy environment are more stressed and experience heightened negative mood… sometimes by up to 25%. Noise also contributes to increased error rates and reduced productivity.
However, you can tackle this problem in many ways, particularly when it comes to addressing and changing the materials used in your office. Other methods include tinkering with the layout of your offices, utilising plants and making sure there are partitions in strategically placed locations.
Let’s take a closer look at the best solutions for reducing noise in your open-plan office below.
Think about the layout
If you have an open-plan office space, it’s important to consider exactly how your particular layout might affect how sound travels through the workplace. Each layout is a little different and the way that desks, workstations, partitions and other items in your office are placed will impact the flow of noise through your workplace.
A Sydney office design company will be able to help you optimise your office layout to get the most out of your people, while reducing noise as much as possible. At Niche Projects, we’ve worked with a number of businesses that required a reduction of noise levels in their workplace. By strategically placing furniture and teams, we’re able to create a more pleasant environment.
There’s never such a thing as too many plants in the office! Unless of course, you can’t walk around… or see colleagues… or get your work done! But in all seriousness, plants have a huge array of benefits when implemented into office design, including health benefits, aesthetics and of course, acoustic benefits.
Plants work well when it comes to reducing unwanted sound in an open-plan office, because leaves and fronds absorb plenty of noise. By placing larger plants in strategic locations, you’ll be able to form noise absorbing, attractive, partitions. What’s more, the mental and physical health of your staff will improve!
Partitions are more than handy
Partitions are a fantastic way to block out unwanted noise and separate working areas in any office space. They can effectively muffle and block noise all around your office, while helping to create different kinds of working environments for your staff. What’s more, partitions can come in a range of materials and colours, so there’s something for every office.
These handy items can be used all over your office, to shield quiet teams from louder, more collaborative teams. They can also help to nail down a certain aesthetic and ensure that distraction is kept at a minimum, in the most stylish manner possible.
Quiet rooms or collaborative rooms
Creating quiet or collaborative spaces in your office is a really good way to ensure that those most impacted by noise pollution are able to get away from it. Obviously, not every office will be able to cater to people by providing entirely separate spaces… but there are ways around this.
Take the traditional meeting room for example… studies show that most meeting rooms are only occupied about one-third of the time! The rest of the time, they simply sit empty. It doesn’t take much at all to equip meeting rooms with the necessary components to turn them into quiet working spaces, especially when you seek the advice of a Sydney office design company.
There are other ways to do it too; breakout rooms and eating areas can become designated quiet spaces, though staff who are eating or on their breaks must always have priority over the space. Moreover, partitions and plants can help you form a quiet working space somewhere on your office floor, by deflecting unwanted noise.
On the flip side, these meeting rooms or other areas can become designated collaborative spaces, where employees who do need to be loud and have discussions, can. That in turn ensures the rest of your open-plan workspace remains as tranquil as possible.
Floors and ceilings
As we mentioned in our introduction, the materials that make up your office finishes will contribute to noise in the office (or the reduction of that noise). Some materials, such as hardwood, stone and concrete, will cause sound to bounce around your office. On the other hand, materials like carpet and ceiling tiles, will absorb sound.
Every Sydney office design and fit-out project will involve a range of fixtures and finishes, and it will be up to you and your design company to select the right ones. When doing so, acoustics must always come into consideration. What’s more, even smaller pieces of furniture like chairs can help reduce noise. Do this by choosing furniture with soft fabric coverings.
Get in touch with a Sydney office fit-out company today
The easiest and swiftest way to ensure your open-plan office isn’t plagued by noise pollution is to work with a professional office design and fit-out company. At Niche Projects, we’re always ready to provide you with exceptional design, refurbishment and fit-out solutions.
If you’re having trouble with noise pollution in your Sydney office, get in touch with Niche Projects today. We’re ready to help.