Noise in the workplace annoys us – a lot. A British Journal of Psychology study found that, whether reading or writing, background noise is a productivity killer. It can be a cause of stress in our bodies, which can lead to significant health issues. It can also reduce strategic and creative thinking, making even the simplest of work tasks more difficult. Workers can be up to 66% less productive when exposed to just one nearby conversation.
But noise isn’t a problem which only occurs in our offices. A chorus of background noises in our homes- such as other people’s telephone conversations, kitchen appliances, and outdoor sounds like traffic- can all combine to make our homes as loud, if not louder, than our offices.
Image shows Interface Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring - Textured Woodgrains - Antique Maple (Ashlar), accredited by Quiet Mark.
A recent report by Morgan Stanley, showed that only 34% of UK workers who could go back to the office have actually done so, and many businesses have publicly stated that they will extend the option to work from home indefinitely. This raises a very important question: How conducive are our domestic soundscapes to work productivity?
The intensity of sound is measured in dB, which measures sounds on a numeric scale. The average office is about 50 to 60 dB, which isn’t particularly quiet. Each time dB increases by 10, we perceive it as a doubling of noise. At 65 dB, noise becomes irritating and affects our wellbeing.
Thankfully, there is a solution. In 2012, Quiet Mark - the international approval award programme associated with
the UK Noise Abatement Society charitable foundation - embarked on a journey to help improve everyday acoustics with a positive, relevant consumer champion campaign for the use of quieter technology in our homes, workplaces, living spaces and outdoor environments. It encourages companies worldwide to prioritise noise reduction within the design of appliances, machines and building materials, and find solutions to noise problems.
Image shows NOX SOUNDPROTEC ECOLAY+ Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring, accredited by Quiet Mark.
In addition to their expert team of acousticians’ rigorous testing of, and accrediting, household appliances, Quiet Mark has recently launched its Acoustics Academy platform. This is aimed at equipping and empowering architects and home builders with a guide to expertly-verified acoustic solutions for every building application area.
In addition to approved specialist materials, such as windows, ceiling and wall panels, and doors, you’ll also find acoustic flooring, on acousticsacademy.com, by leading brands including Interface, Karndean Designflooring and NOX Corp.
Poppy Szkiler, Quiet Mark’s CEO/Founder, said: “When Quiet Mark tests or verifies acoustic flooring, we take into consideration the variety of factors that can affect the sound quality of the spaces where it is installed.
“These include how well the product can reduce sound from one room to another, how it behaves under footfall, as well as how well it dampens sound reflections in the room to enable effective speech communication.”
Image shows Karndean Korlok Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring in Antique French Oak, accredited by Quiet Mark
Fleur Carson, Commercial Sales Director at Karndean Designflooring, added: “As we find ourselves spending extra time at home this year, and perhaps working at home for the first time, it’s even more important than ever to create a quiet and peaceful environment where we can be productive, creative and relax together as a family.
“Distractions due to the noise of daily life can make it difficult to concentrate on any task at hand and this can lead to increasing levels of stress, fatigue and even physical illnesses such as high blood pressure and tension headaches. So, it’s good to know that the layered construction of Karndean’s luxury vinyl flooring not only offers an authentic look of real wood or stone but is also comfortable underfoot and distinctively quieter than laminate flooring or natural wood and stone.”
Particularly suitable for upstairs rooms or multi-level developments where ambient noise levels can be a concern, Karndean’s rigid core and loose lay formats feature a pre- attached enhanced acoustic backing that can reduce noise transfer to floors below by up to 21dB.
Fleur continued: “Our Korlok, multi-format Van Gogh and LooseLay collections offer stunning traditional and contemporary wood, stone and sealed concrete designs that will significantly contribute to a peaceful home, supporting the health and wellbeing of the whole family.
“With its K-Core technology and easy-fit 5G and 2G click- locking format, our rigid core range offers all the durability and practical benefits of luxury vinyl flooring with the additional reassurance that it can reduce noise transfer by 21dB. Suitable for installation over an uneven subfloor, such as existing floorboards or ceramic tiles, the elegant Korlok collection offers a range of intricate wood and stone designs to suit any home style.
“Offering maximum flexibility to match design aspirations to acoustic requirements and subfloor conditions, our latest multi- format Van Gogh range now features a selection of handcrafted oak designs in a choice of gluedown and rigid core formats, including our first herringbones in a rigid core specification.
“Our LooseLay range offers the ultimate in convenience and is suitable for both temporary and permanent use. Featuring K-Wave friction grip that holds the product in place without the need for adhesive and a pre-attached acoustic backing, LooseLay is an easy-fit option that can reduce noise from upstairs rooms by 13dB. Available in a wide-ranging palette of wood, stone and concrete designs, LooseLay is the ideal option for a comfortable contemporary home.”
At the start of March this year, just before lockdown, there were 350 certified products by 60 brands on QuietMark.com. In six months, Quiet Mark certified products have more than doubled to over 750 products by 80 brands across 61 product categories, with an increase of entries directly in response to global changes this year as consumers and trade buyers need more help to source products to create a domestic soundscape more conducive to a productive, work from home environment and domestic soundscape. When consumers see the distinctive purple Quiet Mark logo, they know they’re buying one of the quietest appliances available on the market in that product category, verified by expert technical acoustic assessments.
Poppy Szkiler continued: “John Lewis Partnership is a longstanding retail partner of ours for the past seven years. They have seen a huge increase of 225% in customer engagements searching for Quiet Mark in their navigation bar and then hundreds of thousands of customers shopping at John Lewis Online, searching for Quiet-Mark-certified products with the checkbox we have on the left-hand side of the navigation menu. Now is an even more important time for stockists of Quiet-Mark- accredited products, to make our distinctive purple Q logo visible in their high street and online stores.”
Read the original article in the November 2020 issue of Tomorrow's Retail Floors here.