Modern conference rooms are often beautiful spaces designed to foster great discussions and creative problem-solving. Unfortunately, they're also designed without taking acoustic and visual distractions into consideration.
Glass-walled "fishbowl" style conference rooms look amazing - but glass doesn't do much to keep the conversations inside the room from being heard outside them, and because glass is reflective, noise levels tend to build up in the room. Drywall has a higher NRC and STC rating than glass, but the same acoustic issues remain. Further, our eyes are naturally drawn to movement. Every time someone walks by glass-walled conference rooms, the occupants are visually distracted by the movement.
Conference rooms with traditional drywall walls fare a little better, with higher STC ratings and no visual distractions - but drywall also reflects sound and when the creative juices get flowing in your conference room, the sound bouncing off those boring, beige walls can build up and produce an inspiration-killing echo.
There are three tools to improve acoustic privacy in workspaces, commonly referred to as the ABC's.
Absorb - using acoustic panels or dividers can absorb distracting sounds as well as cut down on visual distractions.
Block - installing partitions can reduce both acoustic and visual distractions.
Cover - adding a source of unstructured, low-level background sound with a modern, adaptive sound masking system can cover distracting noise and increase speech privacy.
Improving privacy in conference rooms looks like this:
1. Acoustic Wall Panels
In glass-walled conference rooms, adding some Addo acoustic wall panels can dramatically reduce both the noise reflected off the glass and the visual distractions that come from seeing every bit of motion outside the room. Even more, because the panels absorb the sound, they can improve privacy levels by allowing much less sound to travel through the walls to the areas surrounding the conference room. The cutouts in the panels still allow light to come through, so you don't lose the aesthetic benefits of the glass walls.
These acoustic panels also help in more traditional drywall conference rooms by absorbing sound and significantly reducing the ring or echo in the space. Plus the acoustic panels are far more interesting and creatively inspiring than the standard boring beige walls!
2. Intelligent Sound Masking
Combined with acoustic panels, adding the VoiceArrest™ sound masking solution to both the conference room and the corridors or areas around the conference room will make sure that the conversations inside the room stay inside the room. This also helps reduce or eliminate distractions from conversations outside the conference room.
When your team has found its creative mojo or your team is trying to solve a particularly knotty problem, distractions and noise levels can have a significantly negative impact. Better privacy in your conference rooms can make your meetings far more productive!