Acoustics in open-plan offices

Open-plan office with microperforated screen walls
© Nimbus
Open-plan office with microperforated screen walls

Room acoustics play a decisive role in open office layouts

Open-plan and multi-person offices are currently major trends in modern office design. Especially high-tech firms and IT companies are continually implementing new, open office forms to encourage more and better communication between employees. Many enterprises are also asking themselves how they can benefit from open office layouts. Methods such as agile work and project-based work organization suggest that open-plan office structures are necessary in order to establish modern working conditions.

Scientific studies, on the other hand, show that users of open-plan offices often complain about the lack of privacy, noise, and poor indoor climate. Furthermore, implementing legal guidelines and standards when designing new office space do not necessarily lead to high user satisfaction and an increase in productivity.

Designing open-plan offices is a complex task because, in addition to the acoustic design, work organization and psychoacoustic factors also need to be taken into account. Our experts conduct research and tests on an interdisciplinary basis to find out how this can be achieved through measurements, surveys and room acoustics simulations.

Especially in cooperation with colleagues from the field of “Cognitive Ergonomics”, our room acoustics experts develop successful solutions and concepts for the acoustic design of open-plan offices. Using evidence-based design methods, i.e. validation through psychoacoustic tests and surveys, we are not only able to create optimized conditions in our customers' offices but also draw conclusions about the acoustic design of a room. On this basis, we develop parameters that enable such rooms to be planned efficiently.

The design of open-plan office structures is essentially influenced by the floor plan and work tasks. Therefore, we work together with renowned office operators on solutions for real room and work situations. Our aim is to design an optimal workplace that not only incorporates acoustic solutions but also identifies the limits of possibilities. Only if all the important aspects involved in office design are taken into account, can we create conditions that provide the best possible working environment for the respective tasks.