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Vicki Benjamin Office Design April 23rd, 2018 - 13:16:24
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.
What lies ahead for occupancy ratios? As mobile technology improves as home working becomes more viable with bandwidth increases and as part-time working becomes more widespread so the need for one desk per person diminishes. Increasingly modern office design is moving towards a ratio of 7 or 8 desks for every 10 staff. The next question is then about saving money by reducing the overall office space rental or to perhaps give some of the space over to social and team purposes? One of the leading adopters of modern office design incorporating flexible working and shared desk allocation CISCO Systems works on a ratio of 160 sq ft per person. Clearly they havent used unallocated desks and mobile working as a cost-cutting measure.
Times are changing and these changes are reflected in the current trends in office design. Designers have to change their thinking away from traditional office designs and towards current trend. Office designers are seeing the following changes in the office environment: 1. Businesses are thinking more consciously about renewable resources and recycled furniture 2. They are becoming more collaborated 3. Offices are being used as a branding tool 4. The creation of offices with employees in mind has become crucial in employee retention rates 5. Hoteling/Moteling is much more popular
Office Fit Out Costs Suggested price ranges: for a CAT B office fit out of £40 - £60 per square foot for a basic specification £60 - £80 psf for a mid-range scheme £80 - £100 psf for a high quality project and £120 + for projects incorporating outstanding office design ideas and quality. Typically these figures include separate professional fees for architects external project management and cost control that together account for the difference between Design & Build fit-out costs and the traditional examples quoted.