For all the benefits: increased collaboration, engagement and knowledge sharing; open offices bring acoustical challenges that can have a profound impact on the productivity, health and wellness and overall effectiveness of employees, a company’s greatest asset.

Fortunately, there are numerous acoustic design strategies to create an acoustically balanced environment. Knoll Workplace Research has coined this the ABCs of office acoustics solutions: Absorb, Block, Cover.

  • A – ABSORB: Minimize noise by absorbing sound with the use of porous materials such as suspended ceiling tiles, soft carpet, acoustical wall panels and fabric and draperies.
  • B- BLOCK: Manage noise via sound avoidance through smart space planning. Essentially blocking sound in select locations and/or separating noise-generation activities from more focused.
  • C- COVER: Mask noise with sound and increase sound privacy through sound-generation equipment (eg. sound masking – pink noise).


Learn more by reading Knoll’s study “Noise at Work: Addressing Noise in the Open Plan” or reach out to Sheehans to discuss how we can help create an environment that follows the ABCs – ultimately delivering a space that fosters collaboration, supports productivity and improves workplace satisfaction.

You can also read more from us be seeing our post on office noise reduction, sound masking, & privacy.