• AOE

Quiet is the New Loud

It was early 2020 when we discovered a problem at our offices. It wasn’t COVID-related (quick-acting leadership had us working from home almost before we learned the word ‘coronavirus’). This was a different problem; one we identified, agreed should be addressed, and then forgot about. For an entire year.

The issue was noise. Hubbub. Babble. Din. Pings, pops, hums and disembodied whispers (that last one really freaked us out).

On an afternoon in late February, we realized that our beautiful, flexible Exchange showroom was suffering (had, in fact, always suffered) from distracting acoustics. Moving from space to space, typical office noises sounded by turns like an elephant parade (heels on tile) jet engines (a laptop fan) or literal shouting (colleague sharing a few words just feet away). Everything was loud, distracting, and completely fixable. We resolved to ‘hop right on that’ ASAP.

And then we all left. To work from our homes. For a year. And our acoustic issues were replaced with, well, the year 2020.

We all learned some lessons, working from our dining room tables. We learned that kids will still yell from the bathroom when you’re Zoom call. That your neighbor will use his leaf blower. That HVAC systems emit all kinds of neat noises when we’re trying to concentrate. Our experiences differed, but common threads revealed themselves. We had some control though; we turned off heaters, closed windows, even moved from room to room to escape noisy distractions. And soldiered on.

It took a year, and a pandemic, for even US to truly appreciate the role of the physical workplace. As we strategized a return from the comforts of home to the office, our thoughts focused on a single thread:

What if the office, like our homes, was a refuge, a dependable space, with full support for happiness, wellness and productivity? How do we recreate some of the intangible niceties of working from home, to ‘inspire the desire’ to experience the office again?

Acoustics floated right to the top, starting with our very own space.

As we adjust our approach to sound mitigation in our own space, we partnered with the great engineering and design minds at 3form. This brilliantly designed line of solutions like walls, clouds, baffles, blocks and partitions is beautiful, accessible and effective. We like what they do so much, we threw them a party.

Last month, acoustician Zachary Belanger taught us how to completely rethink the acoustic properties of any space, and how to bring that learning right into your space. We’re offering free acoustical audits to any business that wants to see how they can improve the sound in their spaces.

So reach out to schedule, put on your noisiest shoes, and warm up your voice- we’re ready to show you how to shhhhhhhh.

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