I have been thinking about the connection between two topics: workplace acoustics and the workplace wellness movement.
It seems that those that are looking at workplace trends are spending good time looking at what makes employees comfortable, engaged and productive.
Frequently missed is the concept that acoustics may be used as a proactive tool to increase workplace effectiveness.
I define Workplace Acoustics as: The act of proactively creating an acoustical environment that promotes comfort, focus and productive work.
The addition of acoustically absorptive materials around areas with high vocal activity will reduce the sound levels within the space and reduce sound reflecting out of the space. This can be as easy as a good old fashion acoustical ceiling or as exciting as some colorful creative acoustical panel systems.
When placed as close as possible to the noise source, the absorptive properties reduce the sound energy that gets free into the surrounding areas.
The addition of sound masking will allow greater acoustical separation between differing work areas without the need for barriers or large distances. Most offices have very low ambient sound levels. This “creepy quiet” allows even the softest conversation to be heard and understood at great distances. By slightly increasing the background sound level with a precisely tuned sound masking system, those conversations are difficult to understand outside of a 15 foot radius.
When acoustics are an afterthought, the sounds of conversations become a detriment to productive work. In our CEU program on Workplace Acoustics, we encourage our friends to discuss privacy expectations early with their clients. Utilize acoustical principals to improve the well being of the workplace!