Read that title again.
Surely it’s a no brainer?
Acoustic panels by nature absorb noise and we all know that noise is stressful when you’re trying to focus!
There is so much confusion around acoustic panels and most people aren’t quite sure how they work. As a result, they’re often overlooked in office design. That’s a crying shame, because by doing so, you’re missing out on a huge boost for productivity and you're helping your employees to cope with a potentially loud and busy office environment.
Let’s backtrack for a moment. Acoustic panels are standalone panels or panels which are attached to the wall. They are made of materials which soak up background noise to a certain degree, making it easier to concentrate in a large and busy office. Of course, these panels aren’t capable of soaking up all the noise, but they do turn the volume down to a certain degree, which could be more than enough for your employees.
Where you place these panels is key.
Agile workplaces tend to have acoustic panels around their collaborative areas. This is because these types of areas are always noisier. People are brainstorming, batting ideas back and forth, and sometimes these types of sessions can become quite loud. When you have people sitting at their office desks not too far away and they’re trying to concentrate on something a little more complicated or focused, it can be easy to feel stressed out or make mistakes as a result of the noise.
So, when acoustic panels are carefully sited, they soak up some of the noise in collaborative areas and therefore make it easier for people who are trying to work on quiet, focused tasks.
How does that reduce stress?
Because people can get on with their work without being constantly distracted. They’ll make fewer mistakes and they’ll be able to be more productive than they would otherwise be.
Stress enters the fore when people feel out of control to a large degree. This isn’t the only reason but for the most part, especially in a working situation, if you’re not in control as much as you can be, you’ll feel like everything is moving too fast. You might make mistakes because you’re rushing and you’ll probably start to procrastinate. None of this is productive.
However, when you’re sitting in an office which has a small amount of noise, but an amount which you can easily cope with, you’re more able to focus and get done what you need to do. Whilst you might not hit your to-do list targets very single day, you’re more likely to have a fair shot at it.
For that reason, acoustic panels work to reduce stress whist also making the chances of office conflicts as a result of noise less likely too.
Large, open plan offices look set to stick around for many years to come. These areas are ideal for collaboration and boosting team spirit. Whilst they have a few downsides, especially in terms of noise, you can easily side-step those problems to a large degree by utilising different types of office furniture and innovations.