The Key to Good Office Acoustics

Good office acoustics are important because they benefit your team’s health, well-being, and overall quality of life. Studies of office workers identify noise as the most frequent complaint. This means that poor acoustics and high noise levels affect staff in a negative way, especially in the spaces where they learn or work.

Most open-plan offices have highly reverberant surfaces, such as hard floors, ceilings, and desks. They are also environments occupied by lots of people. Often the result of this is amplified noise, physiological distress, and drops in productivity. In this blog, we will discuss the key to good office acoustics, share some good tips to reduce unwanted noise in the office and our recommendations for acoustic office furniture to save your team!

Large open-plan office space with open desks for six people each and breakout area with soft seating

The Key to Good Acoustics for Your Office

The first key to developing good office acoustics is space planning and evaluation. When planning your office acoustic solutions, experts suggest considering the following:

  • Where and what is the source of the observable (or expected) acoustic issue (noise)?
  • Have you identified reflection points? (Reflection points are where sound ‘bounces’
  • Typically, reflection points are wall or surfaces that run perpendicular or parallel to sound sources)
  • Do you need to improve sound clarity, reduce echo or reverberation?
  • What design or aesthetic do you want for your office?

To answer the above questions, you need to start by considering how people currently use the space you have. This will help to identify any common acoustic problems, such as echo and reverberation.


Echo can certainly be a problem in large offices. It is produced when a reflected sound wave reaches the ear just when the original sound from the same source has already been reached. This sensation of sound persists for one-tenth of a second after the source has ceased.

Echoes can be unpleasant and disturbing to hear, increasingly so if they are happening all the time. Rugs, curtains, and furniture can help to reduce echo, but often even these measures are not enough. In such cases, Acoustic Panels can be added to walls, ceilings, and floors.


When the surfaces of an indoor place are hard and smooth, very little energy is lost as each sound impacts. Numerous reflections can take place before the sound begins to die down. This repeated reflection of sound is called prolongation or reverberation. If the reverberation continues for too long, successive words in speech can overlap, causing confusion. In this type of situation, sound absorption panels can prove remarkably effective.

Thinking about an office refurb but not sure how to take acoustics into account? Take a look at our Office Space Planning Services – where we use the space you have to create your optimal working environment.


3D render of an office space with high back pod seating and suspended panels above for good office acoustics

The Best Acoustic Office Furniture

Office acoustic solutions are often specifically designed to absorb echoes and reverberations. Most are also proven to reduce noise. In fact, sound-absorbing products, such as wall-mounted acoustic office panels, suspended acoustic panels, free-standing acoustic screens will solve most of the problems you’re going to experience in a room.

The important thing is to identify where you think the hard surfaces are in relation to sound sources. Imagine the sound waves bouncing off those hard surfaces and into someone’s working space. You should then place acoustic office panels on the surfaces that the sound will hit the most quickly. These tend to be on the ceiling or largest wall of a room.

Large living or office reception area with cream sofa and gold coffee table

More Acoustic Solutions for Offices

  • Don’t ignore celling surfaces. Be sure to place acoustic office products in these areas as well!
  • Try to have dedicated meeting rooms quiet areas
  • Vertical sound-absorbing panels on wall surfaces can be extremely effective
  • Consider room dividers and free-standing acoustic screens. Room dividers are lightweight and modular so they can be moved around to suit your office environment
  • Plants bring calm to a team and offer a good solution for your office acoustics
  • Footstep noise can be eliminated with carpet
  • If possible, do not place individual workbenches and booths too close to each other
  • Soundproof rooms and acoustic booths might be required for important meetings, ensuring privacy
  • Acoustic office pods and high-back acoustic seating are also key to good office acoustics
  • Use office partitions – a stylish and contemporary wall partition makes for an incredibly appealing feature wall

Want to know more? Take a look at our related articles: ‘How Acoustic Office Furniture Benefits Your Workplace’ and What You Need To Know About Acoustic Panels To Improve An Office.

Large airy office space with shelving unit separating areas of the office

BT Office Furniture

Remember, once you have identified the source of the sound issue within your workplace, resolving it becomes that much easier! BT Office Furniture can both help you with that identification and suggest suitable and stylish acoustic office solutions. If you would like to talk to one of our experts about your acoustic office furniture requirements, email [email protected] or call us 0800 298 7033.