Designing Modern Workspaces with Office Acoustic Solutions

Meeting room with acoustic solutions - acoustic walls

When it comes to office relocations, planning office designs or even setting up a conference room, there’s one crucial element that’s often overlooked: office acoustics. Yet, office acoustics is a vital component that significantly impacts the productivity, collaboration and employee wellbeing levels within your workspace.

In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of office acoustics and how strategic office acoustic solutions can transform your office into a productive and stylish environment.

By addressing acoustical office challenges and creating a more conducive work environment, your business can thrive from the focused work that can lead to improved collaboration, increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and ultimately, better business outcomes.

How Acoustics Affect Productivity in Office Environments

Ever find yourself in a noisy office, desperately trying to drown out the array of keyboard clacks and chatter with your headphones? You’re not alone!

Open-plan offices, while intended for increased collaboration, often become the noisiest and most distracting environments. They are filled with a racket of collaborative work, general chit-chat, music playing out loud, and the relentless tap-tap of keyboards which can create a challenging environment. Studies show that open-plan offices represent 70% of workspaces and can lead to a significant loss of productivity, with workers losing up to 86 minutes daily due to distractions.

Poor open plan office acoustics can have a profound impact on productivity and creativity in the workplace as when employees are constantly surrounded by noise and distractions, their ability to focus and concentrate on tasks diminishes. This can result in decreased productivity as tasks take longer to complete and mistakes become more frequent.

Additionally, noisy environments can also increase stress levels among employees. High stress levels can further impair cognitive function and decision-making, leading to decreased performance and job satisfaction. The constant intrusion of unwanted sound can create a sense of overwhelm and anxiety – especially when working on urgent matters – making it difficult for employees to remain calm and composed.


How Do Office Acoustics Affect Creativity?

Furthermore, poor office acoustics can hinder creativity and innovation in the workplace. Creative thinking often requires a quiet and contemplative environment where ideas can flow freely without interruption. In a noisy and chaotic workspace, it can be challenging for employees to access their creative potential and generate innovative solutions to problems or to collaborate effectively with colleagues.

Acoustic wall in office. Wall has decorative acoustic wall panels


Unlock the Secret to Office Acoustics

We’re going to tell you the hacks for implementing great office acoustic solutions; understanding these principles is essential for creating an acoustically comfortable workspace that enhances productivity and creativity.

The key is understanding the science of reverberation and reflective surfaces and how they perform in the office. This will underline the implementation of your office acoustic solutions.


Reverberation & Reflective Surfaces Impact On Office Acoustics

Reverberation is the lingering sound that remains in a space after the initial sound source has gone. It occurs due to multiple reflections off surfaces such as walls, ceilings, and floors, resulting in a prolonged sound effect, similar to the echo heard in an empty room.

Think of a room with bare walls and hard floors: sound waves bounce off these surfaces like a ping-pong ball, creating echoes.

Now, imagine the same room with strategically placed acoustic panels and sound-absorbing materials. Suddenly, the sound waves are absorbed rather than reflected, resulting in a much quieter and more comfortable environment.

But reverberation isn’t just about reducing noise; it’s also about enhancing speech intelligibility and clarity. In an office setting, clear communication is crucial for collaboration which Gen Z thrive on for creativity. Without proper office acoustics, conversations can become muddled and difficult to understand, leading to misunderstandings and frustration.

Meeting room with office acoustics

How to Improve Acoustics in an Office Environment

Let’s dive into some practical solutions to turn down the noise and amplify productivity.

Acoustic Solutions 1: Office Furniture

Office furniture isn’t just for looking pretty or providing ergonomic support, but it also adds an extra layer of sound absorption – it’s a strategic tool for reducing noise and enhancing comfort!

Opt for pieces that offer style, comfort and functionality, ensuring your office is as beautiful and comfortable as it is quiet.

Acoustic Office Furniture:

Acoustic Sofas

Sofas designed with sound-absorbing materials to reduce noise levels and create a quieter environment for relaxation or informal meetings.

Acoustic Dividers

Dividers that can be used to create separate zones within an open office layout, defining space while reducing noise transmission between different areas.

Acoustic Screens

Portable panels placed on desks or workstations to absorb sound waves and minimise distractions between adjacent workspaces.

Acoustic Meeting Pods

Enclosed spaces with sound-absorbing materials, providing a quiet environment for small group meetings or individual work tasks.

Soundproof Meeting Rooms

Rooms fully enclosed rooms constructed with thick walls and soundproofing materials to block external noise, ensuring confidentiality and concentration during meetings and presentations.

Office Acoustic/ Office Living Wall

Acoustics Solutions 2: Office Plants

Office plants are not just for decoration; they also serve as natural sound absorbers, helping to reduce noise levels in the workspace. By strategically placing plants throughout the office, particularly in areas with hard surfaces, such as corridors or open-plan areas, sound reflections can be minimised.

Plants are a great addition to the office and contribute to a more pleasant and calming atmosphere, promoting employee well-being and productivity.

Office acoustics with office plants

Acoustic Solutions 3: Acoustic Ceilings

Acoustic ceiling solutions are crucial for addressing reverberation issues, especially in large offices with tall ceilings where sound waves tend to linger longer, leading to increased noise levels. To combat this, various acoustic solutions such as acoustic panels and baffles are available.

Acoustic Ceilings Solutions:

Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels designed to be mounted on walls or ceilings, serving the purpose of absorbing sound to improve acoustics in a room.


Suspended acoustic panels hung from the ceiling to absorb sound and reduce reverberation in open-plan offices with high ceilings. Rafts are typically larger and cover a wider area compared to baffles.


Vertical panels mounted from the ceiling to absorb sound and minimise reverberation, ideal for spaces with limited horizontal room. Baffles are narrower and often used to target specific areas where sound reflection is a concern.

Office Wall with Decorative Acoustic Solution; silver panels hanging from ceiling

Acoustic Solutions 4: Floors

Think of a shiny marble floor – they may look sleek, but they’re a nightmare for office acoustics. By replacing these surfaces with acoustic materials or adding sound-absorbing elements, you can minimise noise and create a more pleasant working environment.

Office Carpets or mats are an acoustic solution you can consider to mitigate sound when planning out open plan office acoustics. As sound-absorbing materials, carpets effectively reduce noise levels by absorbing sound waves that would otherwise bounce off hard surfaces, such as marble, concrete or hardwood floors.

There are more ways to stop sound from affecting your office environment such as incorporating social spaces like a great office kitchen. However, it is beneficial to consult with an expert office fit-out designer at the start of your project.

Hire Expert Office Designers For Effective Office Acoustic Solutions

We strongly recommend seeking the expertise of professional office designers who specialise in office fit-outs and acoustic solutions. With our team’s extensive knowledge and experience, we can collaboratively transform your workspace into a beacon of productivity and comfort.

By working closely with us, we’ll assess the unique acoustical challenges of your office and develop tailored acoustic solutions to address them effectively. From strategic placement of sound-absorbing materials to selecting appropriate furniture and layout adjustments, we’ll ensure that every aspect of your office contributes to a quieter and more productive work environment.

By carefully considering the role of furniture, plants, and pods in your office design, you can create a more harmonious workspace that fosters productivity and well-being. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between function and comfort. Get our help today by contacting 01275 464 220.