Whether by errant plastic bags or plastic straws winding their way into gutters or large amounts of mismanaged plastic waste streaming from rapidly growing economies, that’s equivalent to emptying a refuse lorry full of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day for an entire year! And that much plastic is bound to have an impact on ocean ecosystems.
But did you also know that noise pollution is the primary cause of reduction in productivity and can contribute to stress and illness which can also contribute to absenteeism and continuous turnover of staff?
The typical noise level in an open plan office is 65 dB and shockingly that’s only 30 dB less than a lawnmower! And background noise, even at low levels, has been found to increase stress levels and undermine short-term memory, reading comprehension and willingness to engage with others. Workers have been seen to be 60% less productive in a noisy office – which is a worrying statistic to any business owner.
But what does this have to do with ocean pollution? Well, Soundtect has devised a solution to tackle both.
The working world currently seems to have a love hate relationship with open plan offices, most of which centres around noise, but the open plan office concept is highly successful for several reasons. It is cost effective, allows room for expansion and changing team dynamics, creates more working collaboration, reducing the need for separate meetings. It creates a ‘buzzy atmosphere’ enhancing the office culture and enjoyment at work. Every business wants more happy workers as they influence an organisation’s success and performance.
So, here’s the conundrum - the open plan concept is the right solution for increasing engagement and creating happier more productive employees, but the noise by-product affects individuals, driving them to grab their headphones and retreat into their own world, or even work from home. So, considering acoustics at the planning stage is essential when embarking on an office refurbishment.
The great news is, acoustic improvement products are no longer boring and hidden, they’re stylish, colourful and are used in a variety of applications; meeting pods, partitions, and decorative forms such as wall panels and ceiling enhancements. Soundtect specialise in the manufacture of many different solutions which can be tailored to be as funky as you like to complement any office design theme.
And while the damage plastic causes is a hot topic, noise pollution is too.
Soundtect are proud of their environmental credentials – their products use over 70% recycled polyester. The products are a third-generation product which began life first as a plastic PET bottle, then recycled into exhibition carpets before the polyester fibres are re-used again, being woven into superior quality high performance acoustic felt used for their solutions.
Recently Soundtect launched a new printed wood finish for their Freestyle® range. This lightweight, semi-rigid sound absorbing panel has revolutionised the acoustic market and although there many other manufacturers with a similar product, Soundtect are the pioneers of all sides being printed, and the results are very believable. No more need for heavy wooden ceiling baffles, and the perfect absorbent wall surface solution for that rustic, urban feel that is popular right now.
So the solution is straight-forward; to improve the cognitive performance of your team in an open plan office environment, more consideration needs to be given to noise dynamics and how you can reduce them with effective acoustic solutions like Freestyle® and as you are also buying into the sustainable solution offered by Soundtect, you are also lessening office pollution at the same time.