The problem with communicating in an open floor plan office

The trend in office design is a large open area where every employee has a view outside with glass windows, concrete floors and high ceilings that give everyone a sense of space.  These workspaces look nice and make a strong visual statement about company culture, especially to prospective employees walking through the door for an interview. But an open office has a serious downside: A 2013 study from the University of Sydney in Australia found that a lack of sound privacy was far and away the biggest drain on employee morale and productivity. 

Further, a 2014 study by Ipsos on behalf of furniture manufacturer Steelcase found that workers lost as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions such as co-worker conversations, phone calls, a loud printer, a noisy heating and air conditioning system, or the ring of a cell phone. The Australian report emphasised that the lack of sound privacy is far and away the most despised issue, whereby workers can’t control what they hear — or who hears them. Interestingly enough, although everyone surveyed preferred a private office (who wouldn’t), employees absolutely despised high wall partition cubicles. This of course has led to the lower partitions that are in vogue today.  The problem with low wall partitions is that they provide almost zero sound control. To make matters worse, noise reflects off hard surfaces such as windows, concrete floors and ceilings, gypsum walls, filling the room and propelling the noise problems throughout the office space.  For the employee, there is no sense of privacy. This forces a greater degree of concentration, increases stress, employees become tired more quickly, irritable to customers and co-workers, with all of this resulting in lower productivity.

How can Primacoustic help you?

By treating between 15% and 20% of the wall surface area with 1” thick Broadway™ acoustic panels, you can effectively quiet down the space and remove most of the offending noise from traveling throughout the office.  Broadway panels are made from high performance, high density 6lb cubic foot glass wool. Each panel is sandwiched with micromesh and edges are resin sealed to eliminate dusting. The panels are then finished in either a rugged polyester tweed or in Paintables™ which may be re-painted on site with latex to suit the office décor.  Panels are mounted to the walls using Impalers™ and are as easy to put up as hanging a picture. In offices where wall space is limited, Cloud Paintables™ or Saturna™ baffles are highly effective alternatives. These are hung from the ceiling using eye-hooks and SlipNot™ adjustable aircraft suspension wires.  Installation is quick and easy. These are particularly effective when placed above noisy areas such as huddle spaces.  Once installed, you will immediately notice a quieter work environment. Instead of sound ricocheting all over the place polluting every corner of the facility, noise will be contained. With lower ambient noise, employees will be able to better concentrate, stress levels will be reduced and productivity will soar.

Executive Summary

  • Open office designs are noisy, disruptive places
  • The high degree of ambient noise reduces productivity
  • Absorb excessive noise with Primacoustic panels
  • Installation is quick and effective at lowering ambient noise
  • Stress will be reduced and productivity will increase