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.
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 specialises in the manufacture and supply of many different solutions which can be tailored to be as funky as you like to complement any office design theme.
And while we are about it, let’s not forgot the environment. Soundtect is proud of its environmental credentials – its products use over 70% recycled polyester. The products are a third-generation product which began life first as a plastic PET bottle, and then recycled into exhibition carpets before being woven into superior quality, high-performance acoustic felt.
Recently, Soundtect launched a new printed wood finish for its 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 is the pioneer of all sides being printed, and the results are very believable. No more need for heavy wooden ceiling baffles or the perfect wall surface solution for that rustic, unfinished feel that is popular right now.
So, the solution is straightforward; 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 a sustainable solution offered by Soundtect, you are also lessening environmental pollution at the same time.