Acoustic solutions, open plan office noise, love your workspace, brighton, london,noisy

Acoustic solutions for open plan offices

By Emily Cooper on in Design, Productivity


The office landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. With increasing commercial property prices, the average amount of office space has drop to 150 square foot in comparison to around 400 square foot in 1985, leading facilities managers to look into alternative, cost-effective ways of working. As a result of this remote working, hot desking and open plan offices have all become commonplace.

Open plan offices can look incredible, capitalise on available space and reinforce flexible working policies. However, the noise pollution that is often commonplace with open plan layouts is often overlooked in the initial design phases of office refurbishment projects.

On the plus side, open plan offices create a strong foundation for collaborative working, but when it comes to individual work, this can often be a distracting environment to work in. A recent study by Steelcase indicated that employees were craving privacy with 85% out of 10,000 workers stating that they were dissatisfied with their working environment and couldn’t concentrate.

The cost of distraction:

  • 11 mins for interruptions. When we try to work on a project, we get interrupted every 11 minutes (on average).
  • 23 mins to return to FLOW. When we get interrupted, it takes us up to 23 minutes to get back into FLOW —the state where we’re deeply engaged.

…Resulting in an estimated £52-70 billion to the British economy.

In an office without walls, it’s hard to break up the office and prevent the noise level from getting too high. Everyone works differently, and we think it’s so important to accommodate this. Those who might be a little more introverted or prefer to work individually from time to time, need to be given a space to complete their work to their best ability.

In order to combat this, we would suggest separating the office into zones that your people can move around in throughout the day.  If you have already moved into your new shiny open plan workspace, fear not. This can be achieved with furniture, moveable meeting pods and acoustic screens that absorb the excessive noise from around the room.

We have been reviewing some of our favourite pieces that help the acoustics of the office. We often implement these within open plan offices to make the noise levels more manageable by absorbing and blocking unwanted noise. Take a look at our top picks below:


Acoustic solutions, open plan office noise, love your workspace, brighton, london

1.Cloud quilted meeting sofa

The cloud quilt seating range’s tactile, pillowy surround is designed to invite and comfort without consuming masses of space. Whether you are looking for somewhere to shelter or meet or simply to relax, cloud quilt has a magnetic appeal. The cloud upholstery range consists of various chair and sofa sizes available with high or low back.

2.Buzzi Cactus

The BuzziCactus is a charming room divider that combines no less than three factors: sound absorption, design and a surface you can stick pins onto. Thanks to its striking shape and color you can make a statement at home or at the office.

3.Hush meeting booth

The HUSH work office pod is ideal for any flexible and modern office. Soundproof and comfortable, it’ll perfectly fit your employees needs

4.Kivo magnetic meeting booth

The combination of a lightweight steel skeleton and simple magnetic tiles allows the system to be moved and reconfigured with ease. As required, different areas can be designed and redesigned over and over again in a range of shapes and sizes. The Herman Miller Kivo range is made to simply move and adapt when floor plans change: an approach that is driven by the evolving workplace.

5.Baudot strings

As well as making a visual impact in any area, the range can also be used in acoustic landscaping, as a solution to noisy environments such as open plan offices, atria and hospitality. Freestanding and wall mounted options can be specified to achieve a variety of fun looks.

6. Air3

Launched in 2014, Orangebox’s award winning Air3 acoustic pod can act as a freestanding meeting room, private space, phone booth or touchdown room.

Want to find out more about acoustic solutions for open plan environments? Download our free inspiration pack below for further information.

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