Survey reveals poor acoustics affecting office productivity

Working in a shared or open-plan office is considered the norm, yet a survey of 2000 workers commissioned by Ecophon, part of leading international materials company Saint-Gobain, has revealed that a lack of acoustic treatment in these spaces is having a negative impact on employee productivity. 

Almost 80% of those surveyed work in open plan or shared offices. When asked what they thought about the current acoustic environment in their office, more than half of respondents (54%) said working in an open-plan workspace sometimes makes it difficult for them to concentrate and do their job.

Two thirds (61%) of those surveyed are also bothered by the lack of privacy that open-plan offices provide, with a further 42% of respondents claiming that they don’t have access to private or quiet rooms at all. 

With more than half of respondents (52%) spending more than 40% of their time on concentrated tasks, 51% also say that they get disturbed by other teams.

Paige Hodsman, office concept developer for Ecophon, comments: “Open plan offices are by far the most established way of working but there’s always been controversy surrounding the impact this type of design has on workers. If workers are regularly disturbed by noise it will undoubtedly have a negative impact on their concentration, causing employers to lose hours a week in reduced performance and productivity.

“Unfortunately, this survey shows that the issue of acoustics still isn’t being properly addressed in open-plan office design even though ambient noise has been proven to cause a reduction in productivity by a staggering 66%*.

“Although much has been done to improve the acoustic quality of school classrooms and many recognise the impact this has had, little has been done in extending this knowledge to the office environment and helping to resolve these common yet costly issues for businesses and their employees.”

Ecophon is calling for architects and designers to consider acoustic treatment and other factors such as temperature and air quality, alongside other challenges such as changing technology, environmental issues and facilitating flexible working practices as a holistic approach to modern office design.

*Julian Treasure, The Sound Agency: The 4 ways sound affects us

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_the_4_ways_sound_affects_us.html

-ENDS-

For more information please contact Rachel Meagher or Bethan Simkins at Target PR on 01242 633100, ecophon@targetgroup.co.uk



Note to Editors

Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets, designs, manufactures and distributes building materials, providing innovative solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection. With 2010 sales of €40.1 billion, Saint-Gobain operates in 64 countries and has nearly 190,000 employees.

In the UKand Ireland, some of the best known and respected companies in the construction industry are part of Saint-Gobain. Alongside Ecophon, these include British Gypsum, Isover, Solaglas, Weber, Saint-Gobain Glass, Saint-Gobain PAM, Pasquill, and Saint-Gobain Solar. Together they offer a range of high performance energy-saving products and solutions to help create a more sustainable built environment.

For more information on Saint-Gobain visit www.saint-gobain.co.uk.

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About Us

As one of the leading suppliers of suspended ceilings, Saint-Gobain Ecophon provides acoustic solutions to create better working environments across a variety of industry sectors. Ecophon’s range of ceiling tiles, rafts, wall panels and baffles help to reduce excessive reverberation and optimise sound quality. Ecophon provides a whole range of specialist services from acoustic calculations, technical support, design and integration details to liaising directly with project architects to provide advice on the most appropriate acoustic and aesthetic solution.

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