Friday, February 20, 2015

When Bad Acoustics Happen to Good Workplaces

When all the pieces are in place, the radius of distraction will shrink down to 10-15 feet. Photo by Steve Johnson

Bad acoustics are the culprit in many unsuccessful workplace design projects. Below, Steve Johnson, a principal at ADI Workplace Acoustics, explains how and why the proper use of sound absorbing materials and sound masking can make all the difference.

What an exciting time to be involved in the design and construction of the workplace. Amazing changes are taking place: technology is allowing for more mobility, and mobility is changing many concepts of assigned space. The result, in many diverse ways, is a more open workplace with less personal space. It seems every week there is major publication that is showing off a new workplace full of bright light, low or no panels, few assigned spaces, and loads of amenities.

In the articles, the advocates talk about collaboration and serendipitous interaction. But the comment sections are full of messages from employees in similar space that are screaming, “I don’t like it here,” “I can’t concentrate,” and “It’s too loud.”

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