The reverberation of constant noise can be maddening. In a workplace, the background noise of chatter, phones ringing and text messages dinging doesn’t cease. Add in the outside noise of traffic and construction, and it’s a whirl of never-ending, disruptive sound. But, imagine all of that dampening down and sounding like more of a hum. That’s what acoustic panels can do to support a noisy workspace. Whether you’re a business owner looking for a solution, or an architect wanting to better understand how to talk to clients about the benefits of acoustic panels, we want to share with you some of the reasons why sound-absorption solutions are necessary for office spaces.

Effects on Productivity

If you’re managing a business or have a client that has employees coming back to the workplace after 2 years working from home, you’re not alone. Working from home had significant benefits for a lot of employees, including increased productivity. One of the top reasons for this increased productivity was the absence of distractions, noise being a large part of this. When working from home, employees could (typically) control their environment, including noise and distractions.

Going from a quiet, calm environment back to one filled with noise pollution outside an employee’s control will most certainly decrease productivity. In this case, no one wins – not the employee or the employer. Studies have shown that the most detrimental effects on productivity come from background conversations, as opposed to other forms of sound sources. Our brains are conditioned to recognize speech patterns and process them. For this reason, it’s extremely difficult to turn it off and have selective hearing. This inevitably divides workers’ attention and makes it nearly impossible to keep focus.

Effects on Emotional Health

A decrease in productivity isn’t simply because noise is an annoyance, it’s due to the detrimental effect noise has on the functioning of the brain. The brain’s hyper-vigilance is a built-in survival technique that’s always functioning, even while sleeping, to alert us of danger. This incredibly useful part of our brain can become hyper-aroused when exposed to consistent stimulation over a long period of time. The result of this is the body being flooded with stress-induced hormones (cortisol) tied to the fight-or-flight reflex, putting us on high alert and increasing anxiety. For those who don’t normally deal with anxiety, a drastic change in settings from one that is calm to a space filled with noise pollution, can cause at least some form of anxiety or deficit in attention.

An increase in anxiety due to the constant stress on the nervous system from noise is something that business owners should not only be concerned about for productivity’s sake, but for their workers’ emotional health. As mentioned earlier, the brain is literally wired to be hyper-vigilant. This emergency alert mechanism is embedded deep within the limbic system (specifically the hippocampus), which is particularly important in regulating emotional responses. Studies show that the impacts of stress on the hippocampus are strongly linked to significant mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. In other words, the stress-induced on the body’s nervous system via noise pollution can manifest not only in decreased attention but changes in mood.

How Acoustic Panels Can Help

If you’re a business owner or an architect consulting with a client, there’s a solution for the many workers going back to the office this year. Incorporating acoustic panels in the interior of your building space will drastically reduce the dreaded noise pollution ailing so many co-working environments. We specifically recommend using Autex Acoustic Panels due to a number of reasons that set them apart from other sound-absorbing panels:

  • All of Autex Interior Acoustics are made from 100% Polyester Fibers with no chemical binders and certified low VOC
  • Autex Interior Acoustics are lightweight, easy to install and are suitable for new builds and retrofit soundproofing
  • Made from 100% Polyester; Autex Interior Acoustics are safe, non-toxic, non-allergenic and contain no irritants
  • Our products contain as much recycled polyester fibre (PET) as possible before the performance of the product is compromised. For some products, this number is around 80%, and for others, it is closer to 45%. … Our products are designed to be recycled at the end of their life too, continuing the cycle of reuse