An office not equipped with soundproofing tools can become a cacophony of sound waves reverberating across its spaces. For some lucky few, noise in an office can be annoying at best. However, for many sensitive individuals and ears, the noise ends up as a major distraction to work, affecting productivity and keeping them from performing.

With that being said, the contemporary office layout is that of a modern open plan, which encourages engagement across departments and between coworkers. Even though it is a great way to ensure employee satisfaction through social interactions, it also necessitates that the office have state of the art soundproofing for noise and echo control.

Consider the variety of ways mentioned below to soundproof your commercial office (or even home office). With commercial office soundproofing, you will have those excessive sounds under wraps, and can have your employees back to maintaining their focus and giving their best.

The Best Ways to Soundproof an Office

  1. Acoustic Wall Panels
  2. Acoustic Flooring
  3. Acoustic Ceiling
  4. Acoustic Doors
  5. Soundproof Windows
  6. Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
  7. Acoustic Room Dividers
  8. Acoustic Bass Traps
  9. Fiberglass Insulation
  10. Soundproof Paint
  11. Upholstery & Furniture
  12. Space Planning

1. Acoustic Wall Panels

Acoustic wall panels are sound-absorbing panels that help absorb sound to minimize echo and background noise in your office. They use soft materials (e.g. soft acoustic foam) that help in better sound absorption.

Vertical Acoustic panels on walls are perfect for a commercial office, and they’re even better if your office has an open layout. Most panels feature acoustic foam over a wood frame. The foam can absorb the noise from your office to keep it from spreading to other rooms.

You can choose from various designs to make the wall panels blend in. For example, some feature artistic paintings, while others look like nature. That way, you can choose panels that blend it and can work with your existing office design.

Acoustic panels can also act as diffusers, which is great if they can’t absorb all of the sounds. The sound will bounce back into the room evenly. This can help keep the sound in the office from becoming too harsh.

When choosing panels, it is wise to carefully arrive at the number of wall panels. Multiple panels should be used but to the extent that you can get effective sound absorption without having excessive clutter in your office.

2. Acoustic Flooring

You want the most current technology for your business to be successful. Include a diverse and flexible budget for your tech needs. Technology is constantly changing, so be ready for future change. With up-to-date and current IT equipment, your staff can work more efficiently.

3. Acoustic Ceiling

The ceiling is just as important in soundproofing as walls and flooring, and sometimes a bare flat ceiling can be the reason your office is too loud. High ceilings, which are high in demand for modern office designs, can indeed make a room feel bigger but also add an extra element of noise to the office letting echoes bounce easily around the space.

You can choose from a variety of acoustic-treated ceiling options for soundproofing. One way to soundproof your ceiling is to lower the ceiling with a ceiling buffer. Another method is to carry out a suspended ceiling installation to help reduce space for sound to move in while having an aesthetic balance. To treat ceiling tiles, sound-insulating materials including drywall, rubber, foam, fiberglass among others can be used.

As a bonus, much like acoustic flooring, an acoustic ceiling can protect your office from a potentially loud one on the level above yours.

4. Acoustic Doors

If you find that sound travels between your office rooms, consider installing acoustic doors. These are particularly useful for meeting rooms or private office rooms in commercial offices.

When it comes to open layout offices, they often have limited doors in the office, mostly reserved for entry/exit, meeting, breakout and entertainment rooms. Office entryways may especially need acoustic doors to prevent noise from the busy streets outside to seep in. If your office is right by the street, you may notice significant noise reduction.

When it comes to sound-proofing material, most acoustic doors feature foam to help offer insulation to keep sound out. That makes them helpful for conducting private meetings or offering workplace entertainment. In addition to the layer of foam used, most come with a rubber seal on their edges to prevent noise from escaping. Acoustic doors are also solid-core doors, which can offer more soundproofing as opposed to widely used hollow-core office doors.

As an ultimate solution with multiple benefits, it is ideal to use both flame-resistant and soundproof material for office doors and walls which offer both sound blocking and fire protection properties and are crucial for emergencies.

5. Soundproof Windows

Soundproofing windows is a need if your office is in a busy downtown area with traffic, or around various under-development building projects. If not treated, your windows can be a problem, but the good news is that you don’t always have to replace your existing office windows to make them soundproof and there are methods to soundproof your existing windows as well.

The best way to treat existing windows is to consider weatherstripping, which is adding a seal to joints of windows or doors to prevent leakage. One way to do this is to add acoustic foam to the sides of your current windows. You can also use a sealant, such as acoustic caulk. If your office aesthetic agrees with having blinds over your windows, consider using fabric blinds. That way, the material can help absorb sound from the outside.

If you’re already planning to install windows in a new office or replace your windows, look for double-glazed/double-pane windows that have two sets of glass in a window frame with an airtight space in between for optimum insulation and sound blocking.

6. Fiberglass Insulation

A key strategy for effective soundproofing is fiberglass insulation. This is a special type of insulation prepared with small glass particles of varying densities and used for both thermal and sound insulation.

Fibreglass is better at sound absorption than at sound blocking and can be a great option if you find your or surrounding offices to be too loud. However, you’ll only get the best results by combining fibreglass insulation with various panels of other acoustic materials ( e.g. acoustic wall panels or bass traps).

If you’re starting out with your soundproofing process to get rid of unwanted noise, while also needing a little help with maintaining office temperatures, installing fibreglass insulation can still be a great way to begin.

7. Soundproof Paint

You may be planning to have your office repainted for maintenance or even a change of scenery. But before you buy just any paint, consider using soundproofing paint, which is thicker than standard paints.

Soundproofing paint uses sound-absorbing fillers and some microspheres to increase its density. The fillers include thermal cells that move when sound hits them. That movement helps make the paint more soundproof than standard coats.

Soundproofing paint is useful for sound dampening and can be used for blocking lighter sounds. It can be a good option for those who work from home and want some noise control. However, for best results, like in the case of fibreglass insulation, you will need to pair it up with more soundproofing materials.

8. Upholstery and Furniture

When it comes to soundproofing, your office furniture choice plays a part in both aesthetics and acoustics of the office.

Before buying new furniture, consider their acoustical impact. Material plays a key part in these soft materials instead of hard and solid surfaces that reflect sound can be considered for sound absorption. Furniture elements like desks, chairs, a bookshelf, a soft sofa, and even plants can help with controlling and absorbing sound. When it comes to upholstery, it’s not just limited to furniture, but also other interior design elements like soundproof curtains and carpets can help do the job effectively.

However, it would be wise to remember that even though adding furniture is helpful for both interior design and sound control, the quantity of furniture should not cause the room to seem cluttered and it is important to strike the right balance between acoustics and aesthetics.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining employee productivity should be the key focus of any office design or soundproofing efforts. With soundproofing installations, there will be no need to stifle employee interactions and discussions, and employees can perform to the best of their potential.

Successful soundproofing will not only help keep employees focused, but also bring about a peaceful and serene work environment which is key to employee satisfaction and retention.

If you think you’re ready for a major office soundproofing overhaul, consider hiring an office fit-out service to help decide what soundproofing options are best for your office and your employees.