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Design at Work
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Office Design, Space Planning, Office Fit Out, Interior Design
Office Design, Space Planning, Office Fit Out, Interior Design

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Noise!!! in the Work place and how to deal with it. 

This Month I thought I'd bang on about noise in the workplace

It’s no secret that it is one of the major sources of dissatisfaction with open plan working is that of disruptive noise and at times lack of privacy. There has been a good deal of emphasis in recent years about collaborative workspace, bench desking etc and its true for certain types of workgroups this can indeed bring benefits.

Too often though organisations have adopted the one size fits all solution, mainly driven by initial cost and floor space efficiency without adding the other vital ingredients to the mix.

And then guess what? ...They wonder why they have a noise issue and loss of productivity… it’s like having a car with no silencer fitted.

How sound affects productivity is the subject of research and the current wisdom seems to be that around the 70 decibels  is the optimum to provide some dynamic energy without being distracting but not so silent that the silence itself is oppressive.

“The other ingredients, will often include, good quality acoustic ceilings, partitions that provide the correct amount of attenuation, careful use of floor finishes, acoustic wall treatments.

The adoption of appropriate furniture can also make a huge difference. Many manufacturers have products to that will make a significant contribution to the mix.

Often this is also true of atrium type areas, large areas of glass, lots of hard floor finishes (for all the right practical reasons of light and durability) however all too often the use of these highly acoustically reflective materials are not balanced with other more absorbent elements.

I recently heard of a new build University atrium where there are adjacent quiet work areas, and without the building being opened yet, they are experiencing huge acoustic problems and are anticipating a high degree of user dissatisfaction.

These issues are far easier and cost effective to address at the initial design stage rather after the fact. That said however if you are experiencing problems, there are a whole range of solutions that can used to re-tune a space to mitigate the effects of unwanted noise.

As professional designers we are constantly balancing all elements in the mix, Space, Lighting, Heating, Ventilation, Acoustics, Power Data Furniture, Materials, Finishes and Cost

Acoustic treatments far from being dull provide a huge opportunities for colour, texture, graphics/photomurals and can positively enhance the working environment helping to eliminate unwanted noise and providing visual interest.
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2014-02-17
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