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How Can Office Screens Help Acoustics in the Workplace?

How Can Office Screens Help Acoustics in the Workplace?

XL Displays 16/12/2020

Modern, open-plan offices can be busy, noisy and distracting places – particularly in locations such as call centers or sales departments. Research has shown that noisy offices can reduce both productivity and accuracy as employees are trying to concentrate in a distracting environment. Introducing a series of office screens and partitions can help to reduce noise pollution in your office in two ways:

  • Absorption – preventing sound waves from reverberating around a space
  • Insulation – controlling the distribution of sound between one space and another

Strategically placed acoustic screens in open-plan or noisy offices can help reduce noise pollution through one of these methods. Our premium acoustic range is specifically designed to do both.

Sound Absorption

Hard surfaces will easily reflect (and potentially amplify) sound, as well as increasing reverberation (echoes). Introducing more soft surfaces into an area will absorb more sound, preventing it from reverberating around the room. Generally, the softer the material, the better its absorption capabilities.

All our acoustic office partitions are covered in thick, sound-absorbing foam with a top layer of woven fabric to maximise sound absorption.

Sound Insulation

Acoustic office screens act as barrier to sound waves. The majority of office sound caused by people is emitted at head height for those seated at a desk – between 750mm and 1200mm above floor level. The average height is 975mm.

A 1200mm-high acoustic screen would therefore be 225mm above the average sound source, whereas an 1800mm-high acoustic screen would be 825mm above that, making it on average three times more effective.

As always when it comes to office acoustics, we have to remember that there’s a balance to be struck. Kitting out an office completely with individual acoustic cubicles is of course the best way to limit noise pollution, but these kinds of traditional cubicles have gone out of fashion in recent years as people also weigh the considerable benefits of light, bright and airy open-plan style offices on employee morale. By using a combination of freestanding and desk divider acoustic screens, it is possible to design an office space that’s pleasant and welcoming for employees while also offering a peaceful work environment that’s conducive to productivity.

We offer a range of different acoustic screens to help you preserve proper acoustics in your office:

Standard Acoustic Screens

Standard Acoustic Office Screens

Our best value standard acoustic screens are 35mm thick and manufactured from a strong internal core that’s covered with a pinnable acoustic layer on both sides, before being finished with a foam-backed fabric all over. These screens are suitable for use with pins or Velcro fasteners, meaning you can also use them as display boards. With prices starting from just £55, this range includes straight, wave-shaped and desk divider screens offering good noise-reduction properties at excellent value for money.

Premium Acoustic Screens

For screens that will have a profound effect on noise reduction across your office space, choose items from our premium acoustic range. To reduce how easily sound can travel through something, you need to increase the distance between the two surfaces. So, at 60mm thick, our premium acoustic screens have a uniquely designed carcass construction, with a gap between the two core panels to reduce the amount of sound that can travel through the screen. For additional insulation to offer sound absorption, these partitions are then covered all over in a layer of foam-backed fabric. Prices for our premium acoustic range start from £110, well worth the investment. Our premium acoustic screens are available in both straight and curved shapes.

Acoustic Desk Dividers

Acoustic Desk Screens

As well as floor standing acoustic screens, we also sell acoustic desk divider screens across both our standard and premium acoustic ranges. For many workplaces, the majority of noise pollution is created by the employees themselves when working at large banks of desks. Setting up desk dividers to partition up these large open desk spaces helps to prevent sound travelling from desk to desk, offering employees a quieter and more productive environment in which to work. Look out for our acoustic desk divider with an in-built tool rail – these are ideal for hanging monitors and accessories for offices with clear-desk policies and are great for promoting and hygienic workspace as desks are easier to clean.

Acoustic Meeting Pods

Also in our range of acoustic office furniture is a variety of ‘meeting pods’. These screen kits are designed to help you partition your office into separate working areas while offering semi-private spaces for calls, meetings or personal study. Our acoustic meeting pod kits allow you to set up semi-private rooms within a larger office, while our s-shaped acoustic walls segment the space while creating two individual ‘curves’ where you can set up a table and chairs.

Top Tips to Improve Office Acoustics

  • Introduce high-quality office screens to absorb noise in busy areas and insulate individual employee ‘cubicles’ with surrounding dividers
  • To achieve the best results, carefully consider the position, height and quantity of partitions used
  • Minimise sound bouncing off hard, reflective surfaces by introducing absorbent, plusher materials
  • Wherever possible, arrange desk banks so staff are seated back-to-back rather than facing each other so that sound is always traveling away from them rather than towards them
  • Create ‘cubicles’ around desks with special acoustic desk dividers, ensuring the screens are as tall as possible
  • Keep busier teams (i.e. those more likely to be on the phone or collaborating at their desks) separated from others with a series of dividers
  • Position noisy machines such as printers or shredders at one end of the room with people towards the other end to minimise noise pollution
  • If possible, position office screens between noisy machines and desk banks to help mute the noise

All this may require some serious furniture rearranging, but we promise it will be worth it. With just a few changes you will have a quieter, more peaceful and more productive office.

Been inspired by our collection of acoustic screens, but haven’t found quite what you’re looking for? We can also manufacture bespoke shapes and sizes. Visit our Contact Us page or call our team on 01733 511030 to find out more.