“Music is often not enjoyed, because it is always associated with noise.” What Wilhelm Busch observed in 1874 can apply equally well to office acoustics. Open-plan offices are standard today. Open office structures support quick communication between users and encourage greater flexibility. These advantages go hand-in-hand with higher noise levels, however, and several studies have already found that “relatively low noise levels increase stress and hinder performance”. But even an office community of only two people requires discipline, so other people’s concentration is not disturbed by normal work activities such as telephoning or even just stapling and punching. Fortunately, room acoustics play an important role when choosing office furniture today. And there are many ways and means to improve this.

To create an acoustically agreeable work atmosphere, noise-absorbing room dividing systems – such as partition screens, room-within-room systems or lounge furniture with noise-absorbing surfaces and other acoustically effective elements – can be deployed. They improve the acoustic qualities in the room and contribute to a state of well-being in the office – which is of course necessary for people to be able to concentrate on their work.

Ideally the room acoustics should be taken into account in the room layout and workplace design from the very beginning.

ASSMANN has integrated an acoustic plug-in into its planning data, that can be used simultaneously to assess the effect on room acoustics during the planning process. Some nasty surprises can arise after completion if the room acoustics were not taken into account during the planning stage – especially with open-plan offices. But targeted and professional solutions, which can at least limit and reduce any disruptive factors, can even be implemented retrospectively – be it in conference rooms, seminar rooms, reception areas canteens of in open-plan offices.

“Basically any room can be optimally designed acoustically,” explained Dr Christian Nocke from the Oldenburg acoustic office in his professional introductory article on room acoustics, which is well worth reading. The approach is always similar, where any noise-reflecting surfaces should as far as possible be transformed into noise-absorbing services. But not indiscriminately – here, too, careful planning and a professional approach is necessary to achieve the desired effects for the best possible office acoustics. And of course suitable materials and product solutions are also required for this.

At ASSMANN, the acoustic solutions range includes noise-absorbing dividing screen systems, partition walls, room-within-room systems and lounge furniture as well as solution ideas for ceilings and walls such as acoustic art panels. These are an especially good choice for more prestigious rooms, as we also listen with our eyes. Instead of monochrome acoustic areas, visually appealing pictures with noise-absorbing properties are positioned on the walls. As these can be printed individually – with colours and motifs that show a company’s corporate identity for instance – visual and acoustic elements combine here to design the space with a clever overall concept.

In each case, the ASSMANN modular acoustic products will enable a finely-tuned improvement to the working environment if they are realised in a workmanlike and professional way. An individual consultation that takes the room acoustics into account should, for this reason, always take place at the start of any office space planning procedure.