Speech Privacy in an Open Plan Office
Sound Shadow sound masking can be installed in any size open plan office. The adaptive sound technology provides speech privacy and help reduce distractions in the open plan work environment.
Some people will refer to sound masking as white noise. White noise is more like static, while sound masking can be described as a “hum” which is soothing to listen to during the day. Sound affects the way we feel and behave. In the working environment, sound is particularly critical. Complaints in the office often involve the lack of speech privacy, high noise levels and the distraction of overheard extraneous conversations. These complaints risk becoming more pronounced when traditional office walls are replaced by partial height panels, which allows sound to circulate more freely throughout your space.
In the open plan office, the acoustical performance of panels, ceilings, floors and walls must be controlled if speech privacy is to be maintained, and the overall noise level is compatible with the intended use of the space. (Conference areas, executive offices and general office areas each have different sound level and privacy criteria).
In considering what is and what is not good open plan acoustics, it is important to appreciate the difference between “hearing” and ‘understanding”. The muffled sounds from an adjacent work space generally are not as distracting if they cannot be understood. Of course, if they cannot be understood, you have confidential speech privacy even though some degree of distraction may exist. The overall ambient sound level is also important.
We create a quiet environment by dealing with the paths that sound takes between the sources (equipment and people) and the receivers (people). In the office, people and equipment are sound sources. People also are receivers of that sound which is transmitted.
There are three paths by which sound travels: a direct path which is the straight line between the source and receiver; a reflected path which occurs as sound bounces off various surfaces; and a defracted path which involves sound bending over the top and around the sides of partitions. The control of sound in an open office requires consideration of all three paths.
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Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems can be designed without office occupants in mind. A noisy HVAC system can be addressed with the right tools, analysis, and products. On occasion, noise levels from heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are excessive.
Customer resource, support and call centers are based on the ability of office personnel to interact with the customer effectively. Design consulting from a design build or retrofit phase is part of Sound Management Group’s expertise.
Active systems integrate and operate within spaces in different ways than people. Speakerphone playback fidelity can be easily achieved with Sound Management Group’s products and analysis.
Confidentiality may be as important as sound quality in your company’s meeting rooms. To make sure your meeting space can function optimally, understand what common problems occur and what Sound Management Group has done to solve them. The intent of their design is to create a room in which speech is audible and intelligible throughout.
Video conferencing equipment can be easily optimized by analyzing their space and how these systems interact with these spaces. Understanding the function and desired environments for active systems is our specialty.
Corporate dining areas shouldn’t prevent work from being done in adjacent areas. Dining areas multitask as quick meeting spaces and areas for interaction and conversation. Isolating noise from these spaces from work areas can be addressed through proper design. Corporate dining facilities share the same problems as do most restaurants.
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