Offices & Open Work Spaces

OFFICES & OPEN CONCEPT SPACES

More than 40 million North Americans work in open-concept offices. 

These designs make better use of space, but they’re an acoustical challenge.

Why? More employees use the same space, and everyone is seated closer together. At the same time, absorptive treatments, quieter air handling, and new construction methods have lowered the background sound level.

That’s a problem, because without background sound, it’s easier to hear distracting things happening around your desk.

A sound masking system can help address these problems by producing a comfortable, engineered background sound and distributing it throughout the workplace.

CHALLENGES

  • Modern corporate offices use fewer sound absorbing materials (rugs, material partitions, etc.) in favor of reflective surfaces like metal, aluminum, glass and gypsum, contributing to unwanted noise reflections and buildup.

  • Workstations have shrunk from 8 ft x 8 ft to 6 ft x 6 ft (2.5 m x 2.5 m to 1.8 m x 1.8 m) and partitions have reduced from 66” to as low as 42” (168 cm to as low as 107 cm) in height.

  • More companies are seeking LEED certification and implementing “green” design and construction initiatives, which often reduce speech privacy.

  • The resulting noise distractions make employees less productive, which costs companies billions of dollars each year.
“With an acoustically harsh environment with all of the hard materials used, the use of Lencore’s sound masking solution helped us complete the space to allow collaborative activity to coexist with individual work in a comfortable and productive workplace.”
Joel Smith
Neumann/Smith Architecture

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Case Study: Cisco

Cisco Systems – the worldwide leader and $ 39.5B network company – is concerned about privacy. Their sales offices utilize a mixture of open plan design and “quiet” rooms for confidential conversations. Specifying high-end, quality materials, Cisco’s highly engineered spaces became uncomfortable for employees because they were too quiet—almost museum like in effect.

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Case Study: IndependenceFirst

IndependenceFirst is a non-profit agency directed by, and for the benefit of, persons with disabilities, primarily serving the four county metropolitan Milwaukee area. IndependenceFirst renovated a building in the historic 5th Ward of Milwaukee,

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Case Study: Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente – the largest non profit health plan serving over 8.6 million members with 2008 revenue of $40.8B – was looking to improve their medical office building standard, in particular for exam rooms.

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