The majority of office spaces we see now for rent are designed as open-plan spaces, in line with a more contemporary style of working. These often include large banks of desks spread out across the room, rather than the individual cubicle-style set-up of the recent past.
However, particularly in businesses where telephone calls take place frequently (such as call centres or sales departments), things can get noisy and distracting very quickly in these large, expansive offices. Unsurprisingly, it’s been proven that a distracting work environment can reduce both productivity and accuracy, so distributing a series of acoustic screens throughout your office can make a huge difference.
Acoustic office screens help to reduce noise pollution through:
- Absorption – preventing sound waves from reverberating around a space
- Insulation – controlling the distribution of sound between one space and another
Our premium acoustic screen collection is designed to use both absorption and insulation to reduce noise. By placing acoustic dividers in strategic positions throughout open-plan or chaotic offices, you can significantly reduce noise pollution and increase productivity.
When you walk into a large, empty room with no carpet or soft furnishings, you notice your voice echoing around the room. The same principle applies to sound-proofing offices. Hard surfaces easily reflect (and can amplify) sound, causing echoes. By placing more soft surfaces (such as curtains or carpet) in a room, you can reduce this effect, but in large open-plan offices even these steps are often not enough to make a significant difference. That’s where acoustic partitions come in. Our acoustic screens are covered in thick, sound-absorbing foam and an outer layer of woven fabric to maximise sound absorption.
In the most basic sense, acoustic panels act as a barrier to sound waves. However, their effectiveness can depend a lot on where you place them - particularly when it comes to the height of the screen.
Most often, office noise that’s due to people is emitted at head height; for people sitting at their desks, this is between 750mm and 1200mm above the floor level. Let’s call that 975mm average.
That means, if you install a 1200mm-high acoustic screen near to the average sound source (975mm), that’s 225mm-worth of additional protection. However, a 1800mm-high screen installed in the same location would offer 825mm more protection, offering three times more sound absorbing and insulating properties.
You can see then, why traditional fabric cubicles have long been a staple on large office floors. Using the acoustic cubicles dampened the sound from each individual employee, creating a more private and peaceful working environment. However, these working environments were often darker, stuffier and less sociable than our modern, open-plan styles. A light, bright and friendly office can be an important factor in boosting employee morale, so how can we retain this feeling while also capturing some of the sound-proofing qualities of vintage office cubicles?
By using a combination of freestanding and desk divider acoustic screens, it is possible to design an office space that’s pleasant and welcoming for employees while also offering a peaceful work environment that’s conducive to productivity.
What Other Ways Can You Reduce Noise Pollution in The Office?
- Create ‘cubicles’ around desks with special acoustic desk dividers, ensuring the screens are as tall as possible
- Consider the position, height and quantity of partitions used to achieve the best results
- Introduce absorbent, plusher materials to minimise sound bouncing off hard, reflective surfaces
- Add wallboards or ceiling panels around the office - they help to reduce the overall volume of the office
- Arrange desk banks so staff are seated back-to-back rather than facing each other - this way the sound is always traveling away from them
- Keep busier teams (i.e. those more likely to be on the phone or collaborating at their desks) separated from others with a series of dividers
- Relocate noisy machines such as printers or shredders at one end of the office and people towards the other end to minimise noise pollution
- Add office partitions between noisy machines and desk banks to help minimise the noise as much as possible
We offer a variety of different acoustic screens to help you preserve proper acoustics in your office:
Standard Acoustic Screens:
Effective and offering excellent value for money, our standard acoustic screens are 35mm thick and manufactured from a strong internal core that’s covered with a pinnable acoustic layer on both sides, before being finished with a foam-backed fabric all over. Thanks to the versatility of the design, you can use these screens to display items by fixing with velcro fasteners or pins. They are available in straight, wave-shaped and desk-divider shapes, giving you different options for your office.
Premium Acoustic Screens:
Very busy and noisy working environments will benefit from an investment in our Premium Acoustic Screens. They work on the premise that increasing the distance between two surfaces reduces the ease at which sound can travel. Therefore, our collection of premium acoustic dividers are our most effective acoustic screens, as they are 60mm thick with a uniquely designed carcass construction, with a gap between the two core panels to reduce the amount of sound that can travel through the screen. In addition, they are then covered in a layer of foam-backed fabric. Available in both straight and curved shapes, as well as desk dividers, our premium range covers all your needs.
Acoustic Desk Dividers:
In offices with large desk banks, you’ll find that the majority of noise is created by seated employees talking amongst themselves or on phone calls. Setting up acoustic desk screens helps to prevent sound from traveling between desks, creating a more peaceful and productive environment where people find it easier to concentrate. Our acoustic desk dividers can serve more than one purpose, though; our office dividers with an in-built tool rail – these are ideal for hanging monitors and accessories for offices with clear-desk policies and are great for promoting and hygienic workspace as desks are easier to clean.
Acoustic Meeting Pods:
Often, open-plan offices are not furnished with individual meeting rooms or spaces where people can relax or take calls without disturbing others. We sell a range of acoustic meeting pods; kits that can help you divide up your office into different ‘zones’, offering private or semi-private spaces for meetings, calls or personal study. Or, why not choose our s-shaped acoustic walls, which divide up large spaces while creating two individual ‘curves’ where you can set up a table and chairs.
If your office isn’t set up to offer a peaceful and productive environment, you can make changes that will improve the focus and concentration of your staff. It might require a bit of furniture rearranging, but you’ll see the results instantly.
We sell acoustic office screens in a wide range of shapes, sizes and styles; but if you can’t find the right screen for your business, our manufacturing capabilities mean we can create bespoke panel screens just for you. Visit our Contact Us page or call our team on 01234 676767 to find out more.