Updated: Oct 8, 2018
Stop. Whatever it is you’re doing right now, and take a deep breath. Listen to the sounds going on around you and try and focus on this article you’re about to read …
Creating the perfect working environment has a lot of factors. For starters, it has to satisfy our three main senses; visual, kinaesthetic and auditory. While the first two are probably top priority when undergoing a refit or creating the perfect office, the latter is something scientists have proven to increasingly alter the way we are able to be task focused.
With the first senses catered for by look and functionality, audio sounds in the modern open-plan office space is something that can effect the productivity of workers, often without even understanding why. We overhear our colleagues phone calls. We hear the kettle boil. We hear the cars and roadworks outside. We hear our team punching in data to their keypad or mobile phones. We hear noise bounce around the office, and echo right back to our desks. Ultimately, we get distracted, and as the Wall Street Journal reports, it can take up to 20 minutes to regain our concentration again.
All of these noises are part of the normal office experience, and while some people focus on having the best lighting or computer screens available so they can focus their eyes; others will find the benefits of acoustic sound panelling being implemented in their space will push their productivity to new heights.
Up until 1968, most work places featured corner offices that promoted seclusion and the ability to hide away from the rest of your co-workers to get things done. It was then found that staff interaction, open spaces, and natural air flow were important factors for wellbeing; and so walls were removed.
A few years later, the growing trend was to decrease these co-working spaces by reducing desk space, and by 2002, the average size of middle-management workstations had diminished by an alarming 17%! Fast forward to today, and we often have the option of bringing a backpack to work, sitting where ever we please, next to whomever we please. Even that annoying colleague that sits and chews gum with their mouth open, listens to their favourite iTunes music on repeat, or puts on that fake laugh when trying to win over their next client.
You get it? You get it.
All those uncontrollable sounds around us become an annoyance. An irritation. They get to a point where as much as you focus on being “mindful” and creating some zen within like Steve Jobs all you really want to do is ask said annoying co-worker if they wouldn’t mind just … you know where I’m going.
Alarmingly, research conducted by Oxford Economics suggests millennials are most likely to put on headphones to dull the external hums, ask the person to tone it down or remove themselves from the situation - permanently.
In fact, over half of those millennials surveyed actually complained about noise within the office space, claiming it effected their ability to focus.
Enter acoustic sound panelling.
By placing various sized, shaped and coloured sound panels in areas of noise creation, you can actually reduce reverberation, and create a more harmonious, productive work environment for yourself and fellow employees. Aside from a great way to add new colours and textures to the office, we can also help you create panelled sections for greater seclusion, install discreet ceiling panels for a more corporate look, or cultivate “work-pods” to host your impromptu meetings without disturbing the rest of the team.
Conceived with sophistication in mind, our wide range of options can help your designer or architects create a visible and distinctive part of your interior project, and discreetly integrate them into your space. With our panels achieving global awards in product design, development and innovation, we can resolve the simplest or most complex of problems regarding unwanted sound in your workspace.
So what do they actually do? Sound waves tend to reflect across solid surfaces that have limited ability to absorb them (concrete, marble, glass etc.) creating annoying echo’s, which makes it difficult to converse and listen intently. Our range includes sound absorbing materials which aim to improve environmental acoustics toning down the resonance, so you can take in more of the important information around you, and block out the rest. Proven to absorb low (below 500 Hz) and mid-range frequencies (500 to 2000 Hz) typical of the human voice very well, they also tend to reflect the higher ranges (above 2000 Hz), allowing them to gradually absorb less of these frequencies which are then naturally taken in by the presence of people and general work spaces.
Our panels don’t just offer Class A Sound Absorption (UNI EN ISO 354 standards) due to the multilayers of materials in variable densities to achieve selective absorption of different frequencies, but also because they are seam and frame free. This means that 100% of their light-weight surface area is there just to absorb those infuriating sounds, allowing you to focus on what really counts.
What’s better still, is that our panels are eco-friendly, contain zero formaldehyde, are easy to clean, difficult to tear or perforate giving them extended life, and have attained Greenguard Gold certification after being tested for over 10,000 chemicals. In our eyes, the fact that they are low emitting products that actually contribute to improved indoor air quality in your environment is a huge bonus to your workplace wellness.
Still not convinced? According to recent studies, sound expert Julian Treasure concludes that a whopping 66% of all employees in open work areas report that the biggest impact on their productivity is external noise. So if you can’t afford to lose time waiting for them to refocus, perhaps you should schedule a free appointment with us to find out how we can create the perfect balance for your space.
Wishes in wellness,
The Balance Team