Comfort and safety

Sound solutions to improve work

By Knauf Insulation
March 10, 2022

Whether at home, in the office or a combination of both, we all deserve a space where we can work productively free of noisy distractions.

Excessive noise is a key concern whether we are working from home or commuting to work in an office. Novelty ringtones, loud paper shredders, colleagues eating at desks, shouting into conference calls or trying to be heard in an echoing room — work can be challenging without good sound insulation.

There is plenty of research that underlines the importance of a good work soundscape. For example, one study by the British Journal of Psychology found that if you can hear someone talking while you are reading or writing your productivity falls by up to 66%. In another study, a group of students were asked to carry out mental arithmetic tasks while exposed to office noise and then in silence. They performed better when conditions were quiet.

Unfocussed Employee Noisy Office

Importance of privacy

noisy colleagues open office distraction

In France, 57% of office workers claimed that their ability to focus was impacted by one or several noise sources, while in the US, research into the working habits of 40,000 office workers found there was no evidence that open plan offices offered benefits over closed alternatives. In fact, open plan workers complained more about sound privacy. And privacy is vital, especially for video calls. People want peace and they don’t want others to hear their conversations.

For those working at home, there may not be noisy colleagues around, but there could be loud neighbours, noisy traffic, distractions from other people in the house or apartment, clacking heating or cooling systems, televisions or devices that are too loud and perhaps the occasional barking dog.

Knauf Insulation’s expert insight

Maro Puljizević is Acoustics Project Manager at Knauf Insulation’s Core Research and Development Department. As an expert who has visited numerous workspaces to help customers improve their acoustic well-being, he has developed golden rules for individual and open office work areas.

"For individual areas, separate workspaces from surrounding areas with wall and ceiling elements of high-sound insulating performance. Mineral Wool in wall cavities and above ceiling tiles is indispensable,” he says.

“For open office areas, use a lot of acoustically absorbing elements and think about smart office layouts. For example, separate chatty marketing teams from focused accountants. Separating different groups with cabinets, pinboards or other moveable sound barriers will certainly contribute to productivity improvements.”

Maro Puljizević, Acoustics Project Manager

How Knauf Insulation can help

Wherever we work, the secret to good acoustic health and well-being is to focus on the three sources of noise pollution — external, internal and mechanical — and tackle each individually.

At Knauf Insulation we offer applications that can acoustically improve the full interior work space envelope from ceilings and floors to walls and partitions.

Mineral Wool Fibre Structure Noise Absorption

We have solutions for every possible office or home construction element from brick walls, wooden floors and attics to plasterboard partitions, cavity or concrete walls and timber frames.

The fibre structure of our Mineral Wool is highly effective at absorbing noise and we offer a range of sound insulation densities and thickness which can be used for any application.

Customised acoustic solutions

In office or apartment blocks the impact of noise from a floor above, for example, can be absorbed by installing Knauf plasterboard and our Mineral Wool to the ceiling below and tuning the air separation to make a crucial difference.

Combinations of our gypsum board and Mineral Wool are also ideal for upgrading existing walls walls and a decrease of 10 decibels is easily achieved which means it will not be possible to hear a conversation or shouting next door and be unable to distinguish sounds from entertainment systems.

Here is a selection of our solutions that can be customised to meet any acoustic requirement. In addition to excellent sound insulation, they provide exceptional fire and thermal performance.

  • Our DRS Sound Supreme Board has been specially developed for the insulation core of wooden doors and is popular with hotels, office developers as well as acoustically demanding homeowners.
  • Our Rock Mineral Wool is often used as the core of sandwich panels in prefabricated partition walls and roof elements due to its excellent sound insulation properties.