When acoustic panels were first introduced, it was mostly connected to the music industry for recording purposes to help control live sound. Today, the technology and use of acoustic panels has expanded well beyond the music industry and now reaches into classrooms, banquet halls, conference rooms and many other types of live places. As many large corporate offices return from work-from-home options, they are finding online meetings aren’t going away; thus, presenting a new problem – not a viral problem, but an acoustical problem. Here we will explore how acoustic panels can fix the acoustic challenges of online meetings happening in the office.


“You’re on mute”

In December of 2019, video conferencing platforms enjoyed around 10 million users. After April of 2020 those numbers skyrocketed to over 300 million, with most platforms like Zoom, webex and Microsoft Teams still seeing increases in 2021. With numbers and growth like that, many American workers turned spare bedrooms, closets and kitchen tables into work-from-home offices. Among other things, this created a new dependence on video conferencing technology to give employees and executives alike the ability to stay connected to each other. This didn’t come without its share of acoustical frustrations as phrases like “you’re on mute”, “I’m getting an echo” and the like became commonplace. But even as many return (or have already returned) to the office, new challenges emerge. 


The acoustic challenge

Even though many workers are returning to the office, they are not returning to the same office. The dependence on video conferencing that grew out of necessity of working from home is not going away. With many corporate layouts utilizing an open floor plan with many cubicles and open desks, how can workers return with online conferencing while also maintaining caller privacy and sound quality? This has created a great acoustical challenge for office managers (and the like) as they face microphone feedback, echos and picking up on conversations happening next to them. This not only leads to low quality in video conferencing, but also feeds into worker distraction and lower productivity. 


The acoustic solution

Sound masking solutions like white noise have historically helped make office spaces “less noisy” by lowering the dBa, but acoustic panels help to absorb sound and make the office space less reverberant or reflective. This helps to increase intelligibility and clear up the spoken word (especially if the word also has to overcome a talker wearing a mask). Acoustic panels are not a one-size-fits all and now come in multiple shapes and sizes to fit many different kinds of office spaces or call centers. Helping to decrease live sound, keeping phone calls private and increasing the quality of your video conference call all help to make the office a productive and happy place. 



While “Zoom fatigue” probably isn’t going away anytime soon, there are options to creating optimal acoustics in your office or call center – no matter your office size. Audio Acoustics is able to assess your office space and create a computer model that predicts the difference the panels will make. Is your office space ready to see how acoustic panels can help solve your acoustic challenges?