Open offices have already become the norm worldwide but as all good things come with pros and cons, one of the major problems with open offices is the huge amount of distractions that make it difficult to concentrate or engage in focussed work. The ringing phones, the conversations on the next table etc become a major hinderance to productivity. Imagine if there are just 10 such distractions over an 8-hour workday, it can easily reduce productivity by 15 - 20%. Moreover it ends up causing employees to stay late, leading to burnout, stress and sickness. Therefore acoustic furniture and acoustic panels have become a quietly trending product in last few years.
In the collaborative, open offices that are trending today, acoustics planning is a major requirement from interior designers and architects, due to which several product categories are gaining increased focus. Ambient sound is a key design consideration for every office, in order to reduce noise disturbance and enhance sound quality. Some of the noise management acoustic products trending in 2021 are:
1. Acoustic Cocoons
Ergonomic seating pods or hoods
that offer employees some much-needed privacy and tranquillity. Cushioned for comfort and padded with felt on the internal surface, cocoons shelter the user from ambient noise, creating a hushed environment within. They usually come with essentials like charging points and USB ports to allow uninterrupted work. Some cocoons have in-built Bluetooth speakers and are fitted with LED lights that can be dimmed or brightened as per the user’s comfort. Cocoons can be easily detached and re-mounted at a different location, making them perfect for dynamic workspaces, shared offices and co-working spaces.
2. Acoustic Flooring
Acoustic flooring options are effective in preventing transmission of sound from an upper floor to a lower floor like from foot traffic. Together with ceiling and wall coverings, your acoustic flooring system can help create the best acoustic environment for your building’s application.Acoustic flooring is designed to insulate impact noise, preventing its transmission from your flooring into the rooms below. Floating floors, carpet pads and sound-insulating underlayment can greatly improve a flooring system’s ICC rating.
3. Wall flaps
Sound absorbing panels made of sliced felt, used to insulate a room from external noises. They are mounted on walls and ceilings, with the help of hinges or moving steel arms that can be tilted or rotated in any direction. Unlike unsightly wall insulators, these flaps come in vibrant colours and elegant geometric or abstract shapes. Think of them as the newest kind of wall art! The soft felt surface lets employees pin documents and charts directly on to these flaps, making them ideal for meeting rooms and brainstorm areas.
The privacy of a walled space, the approachability of an open office – that’s what acoustic wings offer. Wings are flat panels made of foam or fibre, which can be attached to the ceiling at a 90° angle to muffle disruptive noises. They partition off certain areas of an open office, acoustically and visually, creating a wall-like illusion without looking too harsh. They have the added advantage of cutting down screen glare and adjusting the brightness of a room.
5. Modular acoustic partitions and panels
Soundproof partitions instantly transform a space to make it more comfortable, less noisy and more aesthetically appealing. They can make an office, restaurant or any room look modern and also helps reduce noise and allows better privacy. Acoustic partitions can easily and quickly accommodate layout changes, just pick up the partition and move it to its new spot. Acoustic partitions cost much less than building permanent walls and takes much less time to install. Skip design, installation and building costs, and get right to enjoying your acoustic partitions the moment you get them. These panels can also be arranged around a cluster of work desks to shield them from sound. They function as temporary walls that can be unmounted, collapsed and moved around the office. They may have a chic opaque finish for added privacy, or be made of soundproof glass if a company needs to retain an open feel.