What does acoustic treatment in the office look like?

With open-plan office environments growing in popularity, a need has arisen for companies to assess their office acoustics

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This need has been propelled by recent statistics, stating that workplace noise negatively affects job satisfaction, causing a reduction in productivity. 

Despite this, office acoustics can often get overlooked when measuring factors contributing to job satisfaction. Many companies highlight air quality, lighting, and thermal conditions as a priority for staff well-being. Whilst all of these are greatly important, we advise companies to assess their office acoustics with the same level of importance.

Light is a key consideration in an office but acoustics should be a top priority
Light, air quality and thermal conditions in an office are all top priorities for staff well-being, but office acoustics should factor just as highly in order to maximise productivity

Why do office acoustics get overlooked?

Bad air quality, poor lighting, and insufficient heating are all easy fixes. They involve simple solutions. 

Office soundproofing usually requires a more scientific approach in order to get to the root of the problem. However, in some cases, acoustic issues like echo and noise transmission can be solved in a relatively cost-effective manner, by making some subtle changes to your workspace.

In this instance, acoustic treatment might look like:

  • A simple office move-around to ensure certain groups are strategically placed away from one another,for example if you had a busy telesales team you would want to separate those from a department that requires quiet. 
  • An introduction of more greenery, such as plants are a great way to reduce unwanted echo in an office, they absorb the incoming sound waves in their stems and leaves so always opt for dense, thick plants with plenty of movement in them. 

If you’re looking for a more design-led approach to control your office’s acoustics, there are a number of creative options for your office fit-out. 

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What is acoustic treatment?

Acoustic treatment refers to the measures you take to control sound withinin a room. It mostly tends to consist of identifying the different surfaces in a room and targeting those surfaces as a contributing factor to the room’s noise problems. 

When treating a room, acousticians will have many things to consider, but the main two we often get calls for are: Reverberation and noise transfer

These two factors play a key role in how sound moves around in your office. 

Reverberation refers to sound that is projected outwards and then bounced back by hard surfaces in a room. 

Noise transfer is linked to sounds that move through hard surfaces, for example a noisy break room situated directly next door to a meeting room where the dividing walls are just thin plasterboard. Sound passes from the break room directly through the wall and disturbs employees conducting a meeting. 

What materials are used to acoustically treat an office?

When discussing acoustic soundproofing, the most common material that people think of is acoustic foam. This is due to its excellent sound-absorbent properties, the array of surface finishes (or ‘profiles’) and its lightweight, simple installation. Strategically placed foam panels can greatly improve the acoustics in a room by reducing unwanted reverberation, promoting a more focused and productive environment. Acoustic foam is especially effective in offices that contain podcast studios.

Pyramid acoustic foam on the ceiling of the Funding Circle offices
Sound Zero installed Pyramid profiled foam to improve the office acoustics at the Funding Circle’s HQ

Work and play

Offices are not just simply a place to work. They should act as a hub for creativity, collaboration, and innovation. Which is why Sound Zero has developed a series of bright, interesting and idea inspiring acoustic foam systems to suit the individual design requirements of any office space without compromise. 

We profile our own acoustic foam right here in the UK, so you can achieve the look and audio effect you wish with your own tailor-made acoustic foam design. 

Pick and choose 

When it comes to acoustic foam there are a whole world of options available to you. At Sound Zero we pride ourselves on being creative with the material, using our experience combined with our British manufacturing processes to develop unique acoustic foam profiles which stun the eye and please the ear. 

Pyramid

Developed for recording studios and critical listening environments, Pyramid foam is the classic look of acoustic treatment. With its triangular faces that play with the light and create stunning geometric visual patterns it’s our most popular profile, and for good reason. Customise the depth and width of the pyramid foam to really achieve a personalised acoustic solution. 

White Pyramid acoustic foam
Pyramid foam is the most popular profile, but Sound Zero offers two unique coatings to add colour to any of our acoustic foam profiles so there is no need to stick to dark grey in your office

Hex

Add complex texture and depth to any flat wall or surface to excite the space. The Hex profile used across large areas creates a mosaic of panels that resemble a geographical phenomenon of the likes of Irelands staggeringly beautiful Giant’s Causeway. Colour splashes can also be added to brighten up your office.

Hex profile office acoustic treatment
Hex adds acoustic treatment and an eye-catching design to any wall

Curve

Create rolling hills of texture on any flat surface by introducing the Curve profile. Guide people into the office with the addition of the foam on any ceiling or walls. Used sparingly or to excess, the curves profile never fails to astound. 

Sound Zero Curve foam profile covering a single office wall
Sound Zero Curve is a unique foam profile developed in-house that will improve your office acoustics and create texture to otherwise dull walls and ceilings

Anechoic Wedge

Resembling the principles of sound testing facilities, the Anechoic Wedge can dramatically improve office acoustics by offering maximum absorption in a concentrated area. The deep wedge pattern creates a visual impact like no other and delivers incredible acoustic performance.

Anechoic Wedge profiled foam for absorbing noise
The Anechoic Wedge can dramatically improve the acoustics in your office by giving a large surface area of absorptive material in a concentrated area

Ridged

A simple but effective design, the Ridged design works better as tessellated tiles for when moderate sound deadening is desired. This common profile is often found in music studios for good reason, it is very effective absorbing mid to high frequencies which are also common in an office environment. 

Sound Zero Ridged tiles can be used for a range of environments to reduce unwanted noise
Ridged tiles are a classic often found in music studios but can be just as effective in an office environment

Egg Profile

Egg profile (or convoluted) acoustic foam is a friendly, safe design choice. With its peaks and dips it ripples along the wall adding playful movement and texture, complimenting calm focus areas or injecting motion in an otherwise still room. Experiment with colours and light to unlock its full potential, Egg profile acoustic foam plays with the eye to create simple but elegant optical illusions. 

Coloured Egg profile foam in acoustic booths
Egg profile foam when coloured transforms into a design-led acoustic treatment for these office pods

A splash of colour

Acoustic office treatment should be a reflection of your brand’s personality and we believe that you shouldn’t be restricted on colour.  

Sound Zero offers two unique coating systems to our acoustic foams in virtually any colour:

Our Absorbent coating ensures the foam remains porous to maintain the noise reducing effect.

Our heavy-duty coating is for high traffic areas where extra durability is needed. 

Brightly coloured acoustic foam for office pods
Mixing colours can make for an exciting design feature whilst solving your office’s acoustic problems

Conclusion

With so many options available when it comes to acoustically treating your office, it’s safe to say that the possibilities are endless. 

When people enquire as to what acoustic treatment in the office looks like, we always begin by trying to understand your vision and what makes your brand unique. 

Our core aim is to make noise control solutions that enhance your workspace. Click here to talk to one of our experts about how we can transform your busy office into a working oasis.

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If you’d like to talk to one of our experts, either give us a call on 020 3984 2000, email us info@sound-zero.com or fill out the form and we'll get back to you ASAP.