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How acoustics affect productivity

03 Aug 2021

Vision Technology

Acoustics affect productivity more than you might think. With modern office design being predominantly open plan and featuring finishes like plasterboard walls, polished concrete and floor to ceiling glass, it faces a lot of problems with reverberation and noise travel. This is why POS are meticulous in creating design solutions to overcome these problems.

Having acoustics solutions built into the very fabric (pardon the pun!) of the design of an office will form the feeling of privacy, safety and intimacy. Where people are less likely to be distracted by unwanted sound. Good acoustic design is soft and inviting, making that call or meeting more pleasant. Staff have control over the environment they are in and can perform tasks according to where they place themselves in the office. Using acoustic hanging panels and desk screens can be a brilliant way to provide privacy in an open-plan office, whilst keeping it light and spacious.

A space that has no acoustic solutions, particularly in an open-plan environment can be a constant distraction for anyone, including extraverts. Everyone should be provided with a space where they won’t succumb to overhearing conversations of co-workers and clients or the distractions of printers. Designing quiet zones and breakout spaces where staff can escape has a multitude of benefits. It can actually help reduce people’s high blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and re-energise.

Noise has a multitude of connections to productivity, having no sound, or very soft dull sounds creates an environment in which basic maths and the recollection of information become easier, discovered Psychologist Nick Perham. It is such an important element to take into account when designing an office. Done well, the impact it has will inevitably end up improving businesses by allowing their employees to work more productively.

It has been displayed through studies that people who struggle to focus and are introverted find it difficult to focus in noisy spaces. However, the more extraverted co-worker is less sensitive to external catalysts. These employees would suffer from fatigue and heightened stress levels because there are no spaces purposely built for quiet focus work, or breakout spaces for collaboration.

^Dobbs, S., Furnham, A., McClelland, A. (2010). The effect of background music and noise on the cognitive test performance of introverts and extraverts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25, 307-313

With the constant evolution of acoustic solutions it is becoming easier and easier to kit out an existing office with new acoustics to solve problems, and design them into new office builds. One aspect taking the acoustic world by storm is the personalisation of acoustic products. Almost anything can be printed onto a range of solutions that give it more than just one purpose. Instead of just being used to help with audible noise they can promote a business’s branding, values and ethos. Providing acoustic solutions is really a no-brainer when it comes to creating beautiful, functional and happy office spaces for functional and happy humans. : )