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Vicki Benjamin Office Design April 23rd, 2018 - 13:08:53
Employees have difficulty working productively in noisy environments since stress levels increase and concentration is lowered. There are many design tricks architects can employ to deal with poor acoustics. Using the correct materials in the correct location is key to achieving the proper level of sound absorption. For example ceiling tiles should generally be applied at a low ceiling height. If the ceiling is very high then other methods need to be applied such as lining the walls with fabric banners or acoustical wall panels to avoid the sound bouncing off of drywall or other non-absorbent materials. To keep voices from traveling too far it is useful to places highly-absorbent materials at mouth level throughout the office. Another effective technique in limiting a noisy environment is to create a monotone background sound known as white noise. This can be achieved in a variety of ways such as through the strategic placement of fans and air conditioners the use of water fountains or by installing a sound masking audio system.
Legal minimum office space per person. There is no prescribed minimum occupancy level for a modern office design. Within the UK Building Regulations the section dealing with Fire Hazards (Part B of the Building Regs.) advises a minimum area of 6 square metres (64 sq feet) for each person in an office premises. This figure can be achieved by equating the total headcount against the overall net internal area (NIA) and so doesnt necessarily limit the space for a single person with a desk. In practice offices will have a number of factors - mostly relating to Fire Escape but also the provisions of WCs amount of fresh air available through a ducted system etc. - that have an impact on the legal maximum number of people accommodated within an office building. The Means of Escape is the key criteria for density of occupation. Once a workstation office design layout is defined the Building Control advisor can determine if there are sufficient escape routes for the staff numbers.
Walls: Instead of just giving your office walls a fresh coat of paint why not consider using blank walls as a canvas for expressing your companys character? A simple design can benefit greatly from creative wall surfaces as they influence the mood of the whole room. New walls can be implemented in the office design and can be made out of anything from wood panelling to frosted glass lightweight compressed wood board and portable metallic units with inbuilt storage spaces. For the existing walls paint is an obvious option and is available in a multitude of colors shades finishes and textures. Designs with a reception feature wall painted in a striking color or touchable finish will attract anyones attention. Tiling wall paper wall decals metal sheeting and wood panelling are other interesting choices for adding life to an offices walls.
Combining Materials: With the multitude of useful materials available for your office and workstations design it could be tempting to either take a very enthusiastic approach or try to use them all or get overwhelmed and stick to the simple choices. It pays however to take a considered approach to using different materials in an office design. Too many clashing materials and the office become visually crowded and messy too little and the office can seem dull. Often choosing one or two interesting materials to use throughout your office design can be very effective.