The sound of Silence – Acoustic Comfort

The importance of acoustic in the office for a better work environment, happier and healthier employees leading  to a more successful company.

In open plan offices, 60% of employees say that noise is the single most disturbing factor*

In offices, 70% of employees believe that their productivity would be higher if their environment was less noisy**

It takes an average of 15 minutes to regain concentration after being distracted from a difficult task by unwanted noise

It might be that because sound and noice aren´t something visible it is often a forgotten part when designing  offices or that we underestimate and dismiss its importance when employees complains.

In an office there is several solid materials that hardly helps with sound absorbtion. Those are e.g glas, concrete walls, wooden floors, furniture made in metal annd wood.

Also there is much more open and collaborative spaces today in a workplace which increases distractions and noices and also makes it harder to have a good speech privacy.

How well office environnments support both collaboration and concentration is fundamental. Understanding how acoustics can support or hinder these work modes is an essential building block to a successful design solution.***

Knowing all above, how to improve the acoustic comfort?

  • Design for Acoustic
  • Diagnose the true problem

N.B Noise may also come from ventilation or travel through open return air grilles in the ceiling or through electric conduit in the window sill

  • Treat the problem


Here are some acoustic ideas and solutions that I like or have been using in my projects:

  • Curtains and drapes with acoustic effects



  • Wallcovering



  • Floors and carpets



  • Wall decorations



  • Ceiling



  • Hanging



  • Dividers



  • Green living

green living


Good acoustics in the office is not a luxury, it’s necessary.


* Danish National Research Center for Working Environment: “Noise from human activity

** Julian Treasure, Sound Business, 2007

***Acoustic Bulletin


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