The office acoustic environment must support the way people work and interact with each other. Open-plan working situations with hard surfaces promote unwanted noise by reflecting sound waves. Individual offices can also have this concern, along with privacy challenges.
Open-plan and collaborative working spaces have few dedicated quiet or focus areas. Hot-desking is common practice. With the lack of walls partitions, sound travels more freely in the open space. Everyone can hear all types of noise — printers, phones ringing, team meetings, and chit-chat from the breakout areas to name a few.
Individual offices are increasingly becoming a precious commodity, reserved for people who need privacy. However, having walls doesn't guarantee privacy or the ability to focus. Sound builds up in these offices, becoming distracting and stressful. Sounds can pass through poorly constructed walls, thin glass partitions and suspended ceilings, decreasing privacy and noise control.