Are meetings disrupted by sounds from adjacent spaces?

Imagine an orchestra rehearsing in one room while you are trying to wrap up a meeting with a potential client. Could be traumatizing right?

That’s the everyday challenge for many in bustling workplaces where adjacent sounds disrupt the tranquillity or efficiency of meetings.

It is common for meetings to have faint chatter from the neighbouring room, or worse, a sudden burst of laughter echoing through thin walls. We’ve all been there. In today’s busy work environments, the challenge of maintaining speech privacy and focus within the corporate meeting spaces is more pressing than ever.

At Acorp, where we believe in transforming the workplace without disrupting the vision of the organizations, we explored the nuances of how sound travels within these spaces which are essential. Here are a few of our recommendations for our clients to help them avoid sound disruptions.

  1. Acoustic Design Solutions: Imagine installing sound-absorbing materials like pet panels, fabric panels or acoustic tiles and even carpets with higher ounce in the meeting rooms. These materials reduce echoes and noises by absorption and reducing reverberation, making conversations clearer.
  2. Soundproofing Techniques: Consider using thicker curtains or weather stripping around doors and windows to block noise. Use of Double-glazed partitions (DGU) and higher density (at least 64 kg/m3) insulation materials inside dry wall partitions help keep outside sounds from disrupting meetings.
  3. Room Configuration: Changing how furniture is arranged or using room dividers can alter how sound travels. For example, placing bookshelves or plants strategically can absorb noise and make a room quieter by certain amount of noise reduction.
  4. Technological Integration: Think about using devices that create white noise to mask other sounds (Sound Masking System). This could involve using speakers that emit soothing sounds or installing noise-cancelling systems that reduce distractions during discussions.
  5. Adaptation to Work Culture: With open-plan offices becoming more common, incorporating soundproofing materials into cubicles or pods can help maintain a quieter atmosphere. Adjustable sound barriers between workstations can also be beneficial. In addition, ceiling hung acoustical baffles and intermittent acoustical privacy screens also help in noise absorption to a great extent.
  6. Budgetary Considerations: Organizations on a budget might focus on simple changes, such as laying a little thicker carpet or installing soundproof panels on the strategic walls. These cost-effective measures still significantly improve the acoustics properties of the space.

We came across Studies that clearly show how office noise can mess with our focus and work happiness. That’s why, cutting disruptions matters big time for better meetings and getting stuff done.

According to one of the studies conducted by World Health Organization, excessive noise can decrease productivity by 10%. Moreover, a Report by the Journal of Applied Psychology mentioned that “disruptions could cost up to 86 minutes of work per employee per day”.

Similarly, there are multiple insights by Forbes, Harvard Business Review etc. which indicate the significance of eliminating sound disruptions.