What is Acoustic Zoning for Offices?

Acoustic zoning for offices involves dividing an office space into different zones based on their acoustic needs and requirements. Many studies have shown that workers can be more productive in a less noisy or acoustically treated environment. The goal with acoustic zoning then is to achieve an environment where sound levels are appropriate for the tasks being performed in each area. In turn, the aim is to enhance productivity, comfort, and overall wellbeing.

With that in mind, that’s exactly the subject we’ll be discussing in today’s article: how acoustic zoning works, how you can implement it within your own office space, and the benefits this can bring for your office acoustics.

Acoustic Zoning for Offices Explained

When it comes to sound in office spaces, it’s important to identify where the hard surfaces are. Try to imagine noise or sound waves bouncing off those surfaces and into somebody else’s workspace. Without suitable acoustic solutions in place, those noises can take a long time to die down. However, office acoustic solutions are designed to absorb such reverberations, and most have been scientifically tested to prove that they are very effective.

Acoustic zoning is a process that takes these intelligent sound solutions and goes one step further. Rather than simply minimising sound across the entire workspace, zoning creates designated areas, each of which will react to sound in a different way dependent on its needs. For instance, a designated zone for collaborative group work will need to allow sound to carry to other users within that area, but without disrupting the rest of the office. In an area for individual quiet work, however, it’s important that sound doesn’t carry beyond the individual user at their desk, so as to prevent disturbing others. Acoustic zoning evolves this principle, creating an adaptive solution for office acoustics.


Acoustic office dividers

The Benefits of Acoustic Zones

Improved Communications

Too much background sound makes effective communication increasingly difficult. Appropriate acoustic protection reduces background noise, ensuring the sounds you want to hear are clear and audible. In areas where collaboration is key, such as meeting rooms or open workspaces, acoustic zoning ensures that communication is clear and effective by controlling background noise and reverberation. Good noise control makes for better, more productive meetings. It just makes sense!

Increased Productivity

Creating spaces with appropriate sound levels is key for avoiding distractions. When minor sounds are controlled through various acoustic solutions for offices, workers are able to stay on task and achieve more in a given amount of time. Reduced noise levels in individual work areas can enhance concentration and productivity.

Increased Privacy

Unwanted outside noises and reverberations from equipment aren’t the only sounds that can carry in a room. Echoes easily carry private conversations through open spaces without proper acoustic protection. Acoustic zoning can therefore also improve privacy in the workplace by minimizing sound transmission between different areas. This is especially important in open-plan offices where employees may need to have confidential conversations or make phone calls without being overheard.

Employee Wellbeing

High noise levels can impair our ability to work and learn, causing people in noisy environments to feel more irritable, unnerved, and stressed. By implementing acoustic zoning, offices can create healthier environments that promote employee wellbeing and satisfaction.

Better Use of the Space

By optimising the acoustic environment of each area, acoustic zoning also allows offices to make better use of their space. This can lead to more efficient layouts and increased flexibility in overall office design.

How to Implement Acoustic Zoning in an Office

When it comes to incorporating acoustic zoning into your office, it’s crucial to first identify the desired zones within your office space. As mentioned earlier, different areas of an office may have different acoustic requirements based on the activities performed there. As a starter, you’re likely to want different zones for private work, meetings, collaborative sessions, and relaxation or break areas.

Next, assess the acoustic needs of each zone. This will help determine the appropriate measures required to achieve the desired acoustic environment. Factors such as background noise levels, reverberation time, and speech privacy should all be taken into consideration. Open work areas, for example, may require lower noise levels to support concentration, while collaborative spaces may benefit from higher levels of ambient noise.

Once the acoustic needs of each zone are identified, appropriate office acoustic solutions can be implemented. Some of these solutions may include acoustic panels, soundproof curtains, acoustic foam, ceiling baffles, and other specialised products.

Room Dividers

Certain room dividers are designed not only for visual separation but also for acoustic separation. They can help in creating distinct zones within larger spaces whilst also mitigating sound transfer between them. At BT Office Furniture, we have various screens and dividers available, including mobile screensfloor standing screensdesk mounted screens, and suspended panels.

Office with room dividers

Acoustic Furniture

Some furniture pieces are designed with acoustic properties, such as high-back sofas or booths with sound-absorbing materials integrated into their construction. High-backed chairs and sofas provide an increased level of privacy for conversations, while also reducing the overall noise level in the office by absorbing the sound.

Workers using a high-backed sofa

Suspended Acoustic Panels or Baffles

Acoustic panels can be installed in ceilings to absorb sound reflections and control reverberation within specific areas. These panels are typically made from sound-absorbing materials such as foam, fiberglass, or perforated wood, and they are designed to reduce reverberation, control noise levels, and enhance speech clarity.

Suspended Acoustic Panels in different fabrics

Meeting Acoustic Pods

Meeting pods are one of our favourite acoustic office solutions here at BT Office Furniture. These offer a practical solution for private, comfortable, and acoustically optimised spaces. Acoustic meeting pods come in various sizes and configurations to accommodate different group sizes and meeting formats. Some pods are designed for small team meetings, whilst others can accommodate larger groups or even individual work sessions.

Office Acoustic Pods

Acoustic Planters

Acoustic planters are innovative products that combine the benefits of indoor plants with acoustic treatment features. These planters serve a dual purpose: they contribute to the aesthetic appeal of interior spaces whilst also helping to improve the acoustic environment by reducing noise levels and controlling reverberation.


Acosutic planters in a modern acoustic reception office

Acoustics Solutions at BT Office Furniture

In addition to their sound benefits, acoustic office products can also enhance the visual appeal of an office space. They come in a wide range of colours, textures, and finishes, allowing designers to incorporate them seamlessly into the overall design scheme.

By implementing acoustic zones, offices can create environments that are conductive to productivity, comfort, and overall wellbeing, ultimately contributing to a more positive work experience for employees.

Get in touch today with our team here at BT Office Furniture to find out how we can help you to create the perfect acoustic office. Explore our full range of acoustic office furniture online. You can also reach us by emailing [email protected] or by calling  0800 298 7033.