Let’s face the facts.
Open plan workspaces encounter several acoustic challenges that their closed counterparts steer clear of. Still, more organizations prioritize an open office layout. The reasons are many and they all seem to far overshadow the disadvantages. Open offices offer employees a high degree of flexibility and open possibilities for collaboration.
At Puppet in Belfast, United Kingdom, they enjoy all the benefits of an open workspace, but it didn’t use to be like this. Last year, they moved into their new office space, but soon after they encountered, first hand, the significant challenges that follow from an open office space. Too much noise. Employees felt easily distracted causing productively levels to decrease.
Now, however, these high noise levels have been remedied and employees are no longer disturbed by noise traveling from one end of the office to the other. The question is, how did Puppet solve the acoustic challenges they were previously facing?
1. Hire an acoustic consultant
MB Furniture, a London-based contract furniture consultancy, was brought in to help redesign the workspace, accommodating the results of an acoustic survey carried out by one of our acoustic consultants.
The primary focus of the acoustic survey was to assess the reverberation times in the open collaborative space as well as the meeting rooms placed in between the collaborative areas to identify the nature of the sound issues.
The result of the acoustic survey at Puppet showed clear signs of poor acoustics. The measured reverberations times far exceeded the recommended levels for the size of the spaces tested, and as such the conclusion was clear: the noise issues employees had been experiencing were quite significant and justified.
2. Sound absorbing furniture
Our BuzziSpace ambassador advised, “Sound absorbing solutions should be added to the ceiling and mounted to the wall ‘tuned’ to each space to create a better environment suitable for their intended use. Similarly, a set of standalone items – for example sound absorbing poufs or room dividers – should be installed to further help reduce the amount of sound reflections.”
Based on the survey results and advice from our acoustic ambassador, MB Furniture created design proposals for each space to visualize how to best remedy the noise issues. The main reason for the high reverberation levels measured was the absence of any absorbing furniture.
Now the workspace of Puppet is equipped with a variety of acoustic solutions ranging from BuzziTiles to BuzziCubes, BuzziFrontDesks and BuzziLands – all contributing to reducing the unwanted noise that staff previously experienced while helping to create a happy and healthy workspace.
MB Furniture is a London-based contract furniture consultancy. With their holistic approach they cover all aspects of contract furniture specification, design, procurement, delivery and installation.
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Photography: The Space Shooter