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Office Wellbeing - Mute Mist Lamp Drawing

A loud environment also increases the stress level of many employees

The health and well-being of office workers influence their productivity - this has been the subject of much research. Staff costs, including salaries and benefits, make up a large part of a company's operating costs. So anything that improves productivity also has a positive financial impact on an employer.

At the same time, most employees work in open-plan offices, which are not very popular, to say at least. 76 % of respondents said that they "hate"  open offices. A loud environment also increases the stress level of many employees. As a result, many employees either quit their job or have a burn-out.

Common noises that decrease the well-being of teams

People can only tolerate noise for a certain amount of time before it becomes annoying and bothers them. Many workers work without realizing that noise in the office is affecting their productivity. Some sources of noise are:

→ Excessive background noise from mechanical and technical operations in the office, such as air conditioners, fans, printers, copiers, and even just typing on the keyboard.

→ Loud conversations, laughter, and the ringing of telephones.

→ Activity noises which are caused by loud footsteps, chat notifications, swearing because the PC doesn't want to do what the employee wants it to do.

→ Outside noises such as road traffic, sirens, trains, and planes. Of course, a certain amount of external noise is completely normal. But too much noise can interfere with concentration and productivity.

→ Use of speakers during a phone call.

Mute Motion Solutions

When you reduce noise levels, you create a more pleasant environment for employees and customers alike.

4 Benefits of Acoustic Solutions

With all this noise around you, you need to find ways to reduce it to be able to work and deliver convincing results. Acoustic solutions can do a lot for you in the office. We will show you how to reach your acoustic goals.

 

1. You reduce stress and improve well-being

Open Office noise is one of the most critical factors that stress people at work. A constant information overload, non-stop noise, distractions – all of those points are highly stressful for employees. Moreover, it affects our productivity, stressing us even more. And if the stress is terrible on a day in the office, it can sometimes lead to quarrels and tensions between colleagues.

65% of 1000 UK-based office workers reported in a survey that noise in their workplace significantly impacted their ability to work in an accurate and timely manner. 44 % even stated that the noise affected their overall well-being. 40 % of them felt stressed due to those circumstances.

Noisy environments are one of the biggest complaints about workplaces. A lot of background noise increases stress by interfering with general hearing and concentration. When you reduce noise levels, you create a more pleasant environment for employees and customers alike. By placing some sound-attenuating walls and separators between desks, you can lower the level of noise. You can reach an even higher sound absorption in rooms and open space offices by using acoustic lamps, panels, or prints on the walls. And if you need absolute silence: Soundproof pods can be acoustic shelters. Use them any time you want to escape constant noise and distractions.

 

2. You provide privacy

A lack of privacy can be stressful, too. In an open space office, everyone sees how we work and what we are doing right at that moment. Hearing our colleagues’ conversations makes us less productive, tires us, and affects our mood. It's in our nature to feel comfortable only when we have some basic level of privacy. That's why the privacy issue is the biggest issue of open spaces. According to a survey performed in 2018 in the USA, almost 48% of respondents point it out as a significant problem.  

Ease of communication is one of the main benefits of an open-plan office. Yet, it is sometimes necessary for staff to have private conversations. Acoustic panels or pods muffle sound and allow employees to have conversations without being overheard.

With acoustic screens like Wall, you can separate space, keep teams together and absorb the noise around them and their noise just as much, so they don't disturb other teams around them. Pods will provide solutions with even more options. Move away from everyone to have a quick phone call in Space S or have an effective 1-on-1 in one of our bigger pods.

 

3. You improve productivity

Plenty of researches show that the easiest way to stay productive is to get rid of distractions and focused only on one thing at a time. However, it isn't easy:

→ 52 % of respondents say they're distracted 1-20 per cent of the time during a workday

→ 43 % say they're distracted 21-75+ percent of the time

→ 5% say they're never distracted

Lower productivity is often associated with high noise levels because of the increased risk of distractions. Improving acoustics makes it easier for employees to concentrate, make and receive calls, and hold conversations at a comfortable volume without distracting other colleagues.

Using our soundproof pod Space M will fight all distractions. It creates spaces for individual-focused work – Quiet Zones. Also, it has been proven that even a simple change of surroundings could be a good thing to boost your creativity. That's why you should provide a variety of spaces for your employees.

Mute Solutions for Lobby and waiting rooms

4. You improve the soundscape and facilitate communication.

Acoustic solutions absorb unwanted sounds such as echoes and noise from the environment and make other sounds clearer. As a result, people in open-plan offices, restaurants, or hotel lobbies can hear and understand each other better.

A 2018 Harvard Business School study found that open-plan offices lead to a 70% decrease in face-to-face communication (Bernstein & Turban, 2018). That's because even if we talk to each other in an open space, we are not facing each other. Therefore, open office conversations are often "too casual", shallow and quick. Open office is maybe great for convenient chat, but there is a lot more to talk about at work. More serious, deeper conversations require a level of privacy that only a quiet environment can give you. That way, you can have eye-to-eye conversation without any distractions because the laptop battery is empty or the connection is low.

In that case, you need more than acoustic screens like our Wall or Cone , but a pod that provides enough space for meetings and small conferences. Using Space L or Space XL will provide quiet surroundings in an open space office. Plus, with the constant air flow you won't risk a headache and tiredness.

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Jargon Buster  Lighting Words Animation

7 most commonly used concepts that you may be unfamiliar with

Every world has its jargon – and the Lighting world is no exception. This article is meant to help you cut through the noise of lighting industry’s tough-to-decipher acronyms and expressions so that you can discover the true value behind the buzzwords. Take a look and see what’s the difference between strength of light and light output, what does UGR stand for and what the hell is Microprism Diffuser. Here we go! 

 

Strength of light – W (Watt) 

Traditional way of measuring the light showing how much energy is consumed by lighting source. This way of measurement was working well with traditional lighting bulbs, where the higher the wattage lamp is, the brighter it is. However, after LED lighting emerged, it became ineffective. Why? Because now it doesn’t necessarily show us the real brightness of light - LED lighting consumes a lot less energy while providing more light than incandescent lamps. Classic bulb is not effective as professional LED Lighting, because it changes most of its energy into heat, not in light. 

 

Light output – LM (Lumen) 

The real unit of light used in lighting measurement. Basically, Lumen is the total amount of light emitted in all directions from the source. The higher the lumen rating, the “brighter” the lamp will appear. It is a way more effective and practical solution to measure lighting because with low energy LED lamps, more Light Output can be achieved with much less power consumption. For example, a 6.5W LED lamp will give a similar light output to a 50W bulb lighting. That's 87% less energy (Watts) for the same light output!

Jargon Buster - Lighting on desk

LX (Lux) 

Lux is a measure of illuminance. It’s the total amount of light that falls on a certain surface.  The same Light output can provide different Lux levels, depending on the place we want to measure. For example, if you hang a lamp which gives 2500 lm. only 0,5 m. above the surface you want to illuminate, you will get a lot higher level of LX than when you place the same lamp few meters higher. LX level has a direct impact on the comfort of work.  

Bellow you can find recommended Lux levels in different interiors: 

→ Office, meeting room – 500 lux 

→ Reception desk – 300 lux 

→ Lounge – 200 lux 

→ Entrance Hall – 100 lux

 

Color temperature – K (Kelvin) 

It is a scale for measuring color of light on a warm-to-cool spectrum. It is measured in Kelvins – higher number means “cooler” tones, while lower numbers reflect “yellower”, lighter tones. Cooler or neutral tones (for example 4000 K) are believed to have a positive influence on work efficiency. That is why they are recommended for working spaces and open offices. Warmer colors, like 3000K, will work well in social areas, creating more cozy atmosphere. On the picture below you can see that it is possible to create completely different atmosphere using different color temperatures in the same room. 

Jargon Buster - Color Tone Cat

Color Rendering Index (CRI) 

CRI index measures the ability of a certain light source to reveal “realistic” colors of objects in contrast to a natural light source. The range of Index is between 0 and 100. A CRI of 100 represent maximum value of natural sun light. Lower CRI value indicates that some colors may appear unnatural, not sharp enough and mix with each other.

Professional lighting products for restaurants, offices and other places, where we spend more than 4h every day, should be at least CRI 80. Bellow you can see that the color of the apple changes from most natural to a way more artificial and pale, depending on the level of CRI. 

 

UGR - Unified Glare Rating 

UGR determines if light source blinds us or not. This classification ranges from 5 to 40, with low numbers indicating low glare. A good parameter is below 22, but workstations in offices need UGR level below 19. Inappropriate, too sharp and excessive lightings cause excessive brightness to be bounced off reflective surfaces like computer screens or whiteboards. This can create a serious disruption for employees – headaches or eyes troubles. As with lux, a real UGR can be measured only on spot. 

 

Microprism diffuser 

It is a tool used to scatter light and to create more soft lighting experience. It’s installed on the light source to reduce glare and to provide extremely high visual comfort thanks to its characteristic prismatic structure. That is why Microprism diffuser is ideal for the illumination of workplaces. Allows to reach optimal UGR level in offices spaces. 

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Maja Ganszyniec with Mist Floor - Portrait Image

When you’re creating something new, it’s good to ask yourself if you are adding something interesting to the surroundings without taking too much from the environment.

– Maja Ganszyniec

Meet the figure behind our Mist family, a virtuoso of product and furniture design - Maja Ganszyniec from Studio Ganszyniec. Maja is a designer with a comprehensive approach to the design process, graduated from Design Product at Royal College of Art and Interior Architecture on Cracow Academy of Fine Arts.

Over the last ten years she has been working across Europe on projects for leading brands such as: IKEA, Leroy Merlin, Amica, Mothercare, Orange, Dupont, Camper, Comforty, PayPass, Touchideas and Bellamy. Her works had been shown on recognised exhibitions in Milan, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, and published by Domus, Icon, Abitare and Wallpaper Magazines.

Mute Mist Pendant in Office Interior
Mute Mist Floor in Office Interior

Mute: The past years have been busy for you. You’ve been working on few collections for IKEA, developing your own brand and delivering projects for your long-term clients. What was the most interesting and inspiring aspect of creating Mist lamps? How do they complete your work?  

Maja Ganszyniec: It’s my first project that combines two very interesting sides – acoustics and light. Until now my projects mainly focused on more classical interior design elements. However, the concept of acoustic comfort was always very close and personal to me, because noise reduction becomes a more and more challenging issue, mostly in open space offices.

M: Do you have a theory why?

MG: Partly because open space concept became so popular and has been implemented almost in every bigger office. The general idea of open plan office, developed in 50s in Germany, was meant to foster communication within the company. But lately it went the other way around. Several studies discovered that open office plan decreases number of face-to-face interactions between employees. Plenty of workers sit in a headphones or in conference rooms.  It’s simply because open offices are full of noise and people observe on a daily basis that it has a negative impact on their work. On top of that people’s work is becoming more complicated, requiring more time for a focused work. Recently I’ve observed many new solutions for noise reduction in business spaces and I’m happy to add something innovative to this emerging trend. 

M: So why did you find designing the acoustic lighting an interesting project if there are so many solutions already on the market? 

MG: In my opinion, they are effective, yet very similar to each other. From an aesthetic point of view, they often lack of something unique that could make them an acoustic tool and also a piece of decoration. To me, it was a chance to create one of the first decorative acoustic products that could look great in modern-designed offices, in fancy restaurants, or a glamorous hotel.

M: So, the goal was to create something unique but also practical and useful? 

MG: I believe that in modern interior design, every inch and square meter has to be used effectively. I’ve observed that in some offices plenty of space is taken by acoustic products with only one function. In my opinion, the era of one-function products is coming to an end as we have less and less space, and we’ve got to make the most of it. That is why the Mist Lamp is multifunctional: sound absorber, space divider, and lamp. 

M: Only three functions, nothing more? :)

MG: On top of it, there is an inductive charger or USB A+C port on the surface of every Mist lamp, so we can call it a device charger as well. 

Maja Ganszyniec Portrait Image

M: What’s behind all these functions? What was your big idea?

MG: I wanted to create something that could be a practical space divider but with some subtlety to it. That’s why the context of light is so important. Most of these kinds of products are just walls. I’ve observed that every traditional space divider makes a place a little bit darker and more gloomy. I chose a delicately transparent fabric because I wanted to allow the light to shine through and penetrate the room. During the day, semi-transparent curtains ensure the lamp’s translucency, letting in the sun.  After dark, a pleated curtain ensures a comforting, understated light that works beautifully in every surrounding, creating a comfortable atmosphere. On top of that, thanks to the fabric we’ve used, MIST creates a magical visual effect –  when you turn on the light, it seems like the top cover of the lamp is floating gently in the air.

M: What was the main technical challenge with creating the product?

MG: The hardest part was to find a proper solution to make it look soft and transparent and, at the same time to obtain a high level of blocking and sound-absorbing quality. With cooperation with Mute’s product technologists, we’ve done that using invisible wall made of plexiglass that also creates acoustic cavities on both sides of the product. Part of the soundwaves are “caught inside,” and because of that, the lamp limits reverberation.

MG: Finally, what are the key features of well-designed products, in your opinion?

M: Lovability :) Shape, function, ease of use. And, of course, sustainability. When you think about it, the world doesn’t necessarily need more chairs or lamps. So, when you are creating something new, it’s good to ask yourself if you are adding something interesting to the surroundings without taking too much from the environment. I am glad that Mute looks at that issue the same way.

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Mute Bell Lamp in office interior with tabletop beneath and people talking

Tired eyes, a cracked psyche, mood swings, headaches - these can all be effects of the wrong lighting.

The lighting of a room influences us in our work and concentration and has a decisive effect on our productivity and well-being. Tired eyes and headaches can be consequences of wrong lighting in a room.

The right light, therefore, has a big impact on a pleasant working atmosphere. So while designing an office, thinking beyond desks and technical equipment is required. We will tell you how companies and organizations can ensure the right light environment in their offices. 

 

The Effect of Daylight and the Right Desk Set-up on Our Health

There is no denying that daylight is important to our productivity and the efficiency of our work. But it's not just professionally crucial to work in the right setting - our health will thank us for it too. Tired eyes, a cracked psyche, mood swings, headaches - these can all be effects of the wrong lighting. As Philips makes clear in a report, sunlight and natural light, in particular, have an impact on our well-being and work performance. To support employees in their work, companies need to create a pleasant lighting atmosphere in the office.  

Mute Ligh Bell and Macbook in Office Interior

Bell with GOLF LED creates warm ambient lighting

Mute Lighting Line in  Office Interior

Line with double LEDs emits bright beam

Different Types of Lighting to Create a Perfect Environment

Different types of lightning can support employees in the way they work and help companies to provide an atmosphere that will contribute to their well-being at the workplace. 

Task Lighting vs. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the general lighting of a room. It substitutes as natural light and provides the overall illumination of a room. Chandeliers, ceiling lights, and even wall lights that lighten up more than on spot create an even lighting level and a relaxing environment in offices and public areas like restaurants, receptions and hotel lobbies.

The use of task lighting is already included in its name as it is light at a specific spot that is used to be able to do certain tasks like writing or reading. This type of light helps to stimulate our brain and supports us when we have to concentrate and focus. Therefore, light sources like pendant lamps above desk areas, desk lamps and swing arm lamps, fall under the category of task lighting. They are great solutions for work stations, conference rooms and open-plan offices. 

Lighting levels

While designing spaces, companies need to ensure the necessary illumination levels for each possible area. To do so, they have to consider "Lux" and "Lumens". Lumen is the total amount of light emitted in all directions from the source. Lux is a measure of illuminance - a total amount of light that falls on a Surface. The same lamp will deliver different amounts of luxes depending on how high it is hung. At the same time different areas require different numbers of luxes. Workstations and meeting rooms need to ensure 500 lux, and reception desks need 300 lux. Entrance halls, on the other hand, only need 100 lux.

Light Colour 3K or 4K

LED lamps and luminaires are available in several colour temperatures. Lamp colour is often a personal choice that is made depending on the environment that should be created. However, most common in office and public spaces are 3000k and 4000k lights. 4000k is a cooler and whiter light that helps to keep people focused. It is mainly used for task lighting. 3000k light, on the other hand, brings a warmer light to a room but may make people a little sleepy after working in this light for a few hours. 

Mute Bell Lamp in office interior with tabletop beneath and people talking

Added Options For an Even Better Light Set-up

Additional functions of lightning can provide even more comfort. Very bright light can be dimmed thanks to a Dali dimmer. That way, you can enjoy a little break or adjust the light according to the room and the setting. The microprism diffuser provides a high level of visual comfort. It is ideal for lighting workplaces with its special prismatic structure, as it has low glare due to its special design. With it you can ensure perfect lighting conditions, especially in the workplace. 

The right lighting is essential in modern offices. Therefore, you should focus on designing an environment that supports creativity and productivity and increases everyone's well-being. The right lighting solutions not only bring comfort and a pleasant atmosphere but are also flexible and smart and can be adjusted to individual needs easily.

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