Hush: How to make open-plan offices acoustically fit for post-COVID working

  • 2 Nov 2021

Sound absorber panels from Hush Acoustics significantly reduce reverberation and nuisance noise in open plan offices, helping businesses and public sector organisations to provide much higher quality, more productive and less stressful working environments.

Action to address sound reverberation problems has peaked as an ever increasing number of workers return to their offices for at least part of their working week and the world learns to live with COVID-19.

For many workers the transition has made the issue of noise distraction within their open plan office much more noticeable than they remember pre-pandemic, particularly for those who have been able to find quiet spaces whilst working in their own homes.


Staff who work in open-plan offices have long complained about high levels of background noise which can reach uncomfortable levels where large teams occupy a single space. The issue stems from sound, such as that from people talking on the phone or to colleagues, bouncing off the hard surfaces which are common in office environments. 

Recent study

One recent study by Bond University in Australia investigated the effects of office noise on things like cognitive performance, physiological stress and mood. It found a significant causal relationship exists between open-plan office noise and physiological stress, with noise heightening negative mood by 25%.

Plastered walls, wooden furniture, large areas of glazing and wooden or tiled floors are amongst the worst offending materials that will absorb very little sound and instead reflect it back into the room.

As a result, everyone has to raise their volume levels ever so slightly for others to hear them and the issue gets progressively worse as the workplace gets busier.

The issue is effectively resolved with the installation of sound absorbers on walls and ceilings or sound absorbing baffles that hang from the ceiling.

Hush’s products

Products including Hush Absorber 50 are ideally suited to this purpose – it is a Class A product, manufactured using a specially formulated 50mm thick acoustic foam, hand finished with interior fabric that is applied to the face, edges and back return.

Additional products in the Hush Acoustics range include Hush Absorber 50a, which offers all the benefits of Hush Absorber 50 but with a built-in support frame for bracket fixing, and Hush Absorber 30.

This 30mm Class C sound absorber panel is capable of resolving reverberation issues in many rooms where there is no need to specify Class A performance.

The extent of sound absorption treatment required in an open plan office is determined via an acoustic survey. Once the data is obtained for the acoustic calculations, Hush Acoustics will advise on the proposed locations for sound absorber panels which mount easily onto walls and ceilings. It is a process that causes very little disruption to everyday working, making sound absorbers a perfect treatment for retrofitting.

For an initial no-obligation assessment, Hush Acoustics also offers a free acoustic estimator where room dimensions and information on the floor, wall and ceiling finishes can be submitted for a provisional estimate.

Find out more about the range of sound absorbers via the Hush Acoustics website.

And for technical advice, call 0151 268 0524 or email [email protected].

Hush Acoustics Ltd
Unit 2, Tinsley Industrial Estate
Shepcote Way
South Yorkshire
S9 1TH

Tel: 0114 551 8685
Fax: 0151 944 1146

Visit Hush Acoustics' website

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