24 SPECIAL REPORT: IMPROVING ACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENTS
Turn down, tune in, crop out For this month’s special report, we’re looking into how the acoustic environment can be improved in three very different settings. Later articles will cover auditoriums and restaurants, but to start us off, Ian McMurray turns an ear to the corporate world
e take good-quality sound pretty much for granted wherever we go. We typically only notice sound when it’s bad – poor PA announcements, for example, or intrusive noise in a working environment. Ensuring good-quality sound in the corporate environment has, however, not become easier over the years as row upon row of box-like offices and meeting rooms have given way to open spaces, informal huddle rooms and visually imaginative public areas. “We often visit corporate environments where acoustic considerations are taken into account too late or at the end of a project,” notes Hanieh Motamedian, business development manager at audio systems distributor Sound Directions. “This appears to occur often in open-plan office environments, where several different departments within an organisation might be sharing the same spaces. “As an example,” she goes on, “imagine a
team of software engineers, developing and writing code, sharing work space with telesales or customer services teams working within the same company. Of course, any telephone conversations will become a distraction to the software engineers. “Also,” Motamedian continues, “imagine a glass boardroom or meeting room amidst an open-plan office environment. It is likely that any conversations, potentially conﬁdential or private, taking place within the boardroom or meeting room will spill out into the open-plan office for colleagues to hear. In these situations, conﬁdentially and privacy are compromised; staff conﬁdence is also compromised. “Both examples represent situations which do occur if acoustic environments are not considered at an early stage,” she concludes.
Not enough consideration She also believes that offices are sometimes designed as beautiful workspaces, without
Key Points Acoustics impact staff morale, worker productivity, corporate security, individual safety and even, in a healthcare environment, patient outcomes Different spaces and use cases will always deliver/require different acoustics: there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution Increased usage of soft furnishings can have a substantial impact on mitigating the impact of noise For open-plan areas, sound masking solutions can be readily configured for a variety of environments to minimise intrusive noise Awareness and understanding of the specific characteristics of audio equipment such as speakers are imperative
Published on Mar 5, 2018