Why Acoustics Are Important for Privacy and Productivity

Why Acoustics Are Important for Privacy and Productivity on compass-office.com

An open office plan – like this one from Allsteel – looks and functions beautifully, but pay attention to acoustics

And how you can improve them in your office

Anyone who works in an office knows that it has certain advantages as well as disadvantages. The benefits include camaraderie with co-workers, an immersion in company culture, and hopefully some donuts in the break room on Fridays.

One of the biggest downsides in many office environments is the potential for distractions. This is especially true if it’s a large, open office and people are always walking around, talking on a phone, or clacking a keyboard. Noise can be a huge productivity killer and once distracted, it often takes someone a while to get refocused on their work.

Another drawback of working in the office is the lack of privacy. In workspace that uses cubicles, employees are somewhat secluded in their own little spaces, but everything they do – like engaging in a private conversation – can pretty much be heard by everyone around them. A totally open layout magnifies this problem; without any partitions, there is virtually no privacy at all.

If you want happier employees that will get more done, especially in an open office, it is important to address noise and privacy concerns. Both can be tackled by creating additional, private spaces that give workers the option to seclude themselves while completing focused tasks, and with the right acoustics. There are three main ways to do the latter: absorb, block, and mask.


You may not realize it, but your office’s ceiling is probably one of the main culprits when it comes to spreading noise. Installing acoustic ceiling tiles and baffles can go a very long way toward reducing unwanted sound. Another good way to absorb noise is by utilizing cubicle walls made with pressed felt. If you want to go even further, these days you can even find sound-reducing paint.


It may seem obvious, but strategically-placed walls, doors, and large pieces of furniture will block sound from carrying through an office. If you love the look of your open and spacious office and shudder at the thought of cubicles or things that will clutter it up, think about installing glass walls or partitions. They will block noise but won’t spoil the appearance of your open layout.


Ever been doing something, suddenly realize how quiet it was, and you immediately became unsettled and distracted? It’s a weird irony that complete silence can be just as distracting as a lot of noise. While low music may help, white noise is even better. When properly distributed in and modulated for different sections of an office, white noise creates a soothing atmosphere and is also excellent for privacy and concentration. If, for example, someone has to make a personal phone call, they may not feel as self-conscious about it knowing that white noise will mask it.

Getting the acoustics right in your office may be challenging, but it will be worth it when you see the effect it will have on your employees. For additional information or assistance with your office design, contact Compass Office Solutions. We’ll help you create an environment that maximizes productivity and at the same time ensures privacy, and we’ll guide you through every step of the process, from design and product selection to convenient online ordering and billing.