As established in the previous Ken Roy article, a distracted employee can take up to 25 minutes to return to their last point of concentration. This loss in productivity is primarily due to speech-related disturbances in their immediate environment. To effectively tackle the problem, we must try and understand what part architectural design plays with regard to acoustic comfort and productivity. “Industrial Design” or “Open Structures” is a growing architectural trend in offices wherein the floor slab above is exposed, as are the MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) installations supported below it. Comparatively, in a ‘traditional design,’ there is wall-to-wall suspended acoustical ceiling that forms a plenum above the ceiling to conceal the MEP equipment and to protect the occupied space from the noise existing inside the space.

The absence of ceilings in ‘open structures’ gives rise to various acoustical problems leading to occupant dissatisfaction. Hence, it becomes important to compensate for the acoustic needs in other ways, to ensure acoustical comfort. So what can be done?

Range of acoustical products ceiling options to enhance speech intelligibility and ensuring overall comfort

Sound reverberation and noise levels can be restrained through acoustic treatments such as Clouds, Canopies, Banners, Baffles, Blades, etc. Each uses sound absorptive materials (NRC rated) to enhance the acoustics of a space. The addition of these acoustical ceilings will also keep the reverberation and noise level in control, ensuring speech intelligibility in “collaboration spaces” and speech privacy in “focus spaces”.