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Katy Booth Office Design April 10th, 2018 - 11:54:49
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.
Furniture & Fixtures - Take time to research all solutions available in terms of office furniture and fixtures. Nowadays there are a lot of different innovations in regards to office workstation and furniture designs that actually add tremendous value. Examples could include non standard shaped furniture that enhance office floor area and low hanging roof fittings for space saving and cord management; Natural Elements - Employ all accessible natural elements efficiently - pay specific consideration to direct light sources as it is one of the most valuable assets within a great office design. It really has been scientifically proven that the amount of natural light in an office has a direct impact on productivity and staff comfort. The proper way to guarantee effective natural light utilization is linked to properly designed open space planning alongside workstation design and configuration;
Having access to good artificial lighting or daylight is known to increase productivity. When people work under bad lighting conditions they can develop eyestrain headaches and general irritability. Particularly dark spaces can have a pronounced psychological effect and depress the brain. Employees should have access to their own lighting so that they can make the necessary lighting adjustments depending on the task they are carrying out. Well-designed artificial lighting will increase functionality however there is no comparison to natural daylight and this should be maximized wherever possible. Windows provide a connection to the outside world and should be used whenever the building design allows for it. Open plan layouts that employ low cubicle panels or glass panels can maximize the entry of natural light into the office. Skylights are also a good alternative when windows are not an option.
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.