Toning Down the Noise in an Open Office Layout

Many companies are leaning towards having open office layouts. Companies seem to be drawn into the look of re-purposing old warehouses, factory areas, and other large format buildings and why not, after all, they usually look great and can bridge the gap between vintage and modern architectural styles. Unfortunately, these unique layouts bring many challenges with office acoustics, open office layouts can also bring lots of sound problems too.

A typical open office layout has clusters of workstations with little to no partitions between them. In many cases, high ceilings and lots of hard surfaces for sound to bounce off. The results of this can lead to several types of noise issues including poor speech intelligibility, echo, and lack of privacy between workers and their clients.

There are a few options for you to help improve office acoustics that will help reduce the echo, increase speech intelligibility, and provide privacy for the office workers in this type of application you may ask? So, what are some ways of improving office acoustics to reduce echo?

    • Acoustic Absorption is basically the act of adding soft materials to hard surfaces in order to reduce reflecting sound and creating a large reverberation time. Installing soft, absorptive materials helps to reduce the number of reflective surfaces in the room. This also reduces the amount of perceived echo as well. The room’s size often dictates how much absorptive material will be needed to achieve a perceivable difference in reduced echo.
    • Clouds and Baffles that are suspended from the ceiling are a great way to add absorption to an open office environment. This is because they can offer absorption on both sides. This type of treatment can be characterized by the direction in which it hangs. Clouds are hung horizontally with the floor/ceiling and baffles are hung vertically.
    • Wall Panels can be used to effectively reduce sound reflections on side walls and cubicles in open office floorplans. Fabric-Wrapped Panels offer a wide variety of color choices and size options.

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