Find it hard to concentrate in an open-plan office?
Hearing too much of your colleague’s conversation through the wall?
The problem is probably not too much noise BUT too little!
The biggest single impact on Productivity, Privacy and Comfort in commercial office interiors is acoustics but the biggest misconception is that it’s too noisy.
What we’re talking about is the background or ambient sound level.
The lower it is the more pronounced and clear ‘human’ sounds become. The higher it is the less clear they become.
Example: The Noisy café
Ever been to a noisy café for a breakout meeting? If so, think about it…
Sure, it’s NOT the office so you’re a bit more relaxed?? But wait a minute, you can talk pretty loud (in fact need to talk pretty loud) but you’re not bothered about others overhearing your conversation. That’s simply because you can’t hear the detail of their conversation and instinctively you know they can’t hear yours. You’re relaxed, you talk freely – your conversation is private and you’re more comfortable. What’s more, if you’re not in conversation and catch up with some work on the laptop, you are not being distracted. It’s noisy yes, but you are able to get things done. The reason for this is you also that background sound – sure you can hear the odd word, but you can’t hear enough of the conversation for your brain to latch onto it. Distraction decreases as ambient sound increases.
OK, so that’s pretty extreme and really, who wants to work in a café all day? Even though some may like the idea and many small business owners who don’t have offices know exactly what I’m on about, it’s not optimal. However, taking control of ambient sound in the open and closed office environment has dramatic effects on worker Productivity, Privacy and Comfort.
45dB Systems specialize in Adaptive Sound Masking aka Sound Conditioning.
[Simply put, an unobtrusive ambient sound is introduced to an overly quiet office environment and carefully calibrated to provide optimal ambient sound levels in line with the activity within the space.]
This intelligent system allows workers to concentrate for longer reducing distraction from their co-workers directly increasing their Productivity.
Furthermore, with ambient sound levels correctly set, conversations in the open-plan are more Private. As workers retreat into ‘quiet’ rooms privacy is guaranteed.
As conversations are more private and speech intelligibility is reduced, workers feel more Comfortable in the knowledge others are not listening to their conversation. They are empowered to behave in a more robust businesslike way without having to keep their voices down to a whisper so as not to distract their colleagues.
How quiet is your office?
Take the ambient sound test – if you need to talk to your colleague in the open-plan, do you feel the need to lower your voice so you are not overheard? If you can speak freely you’re probably fine and enjoying a pretty productive environment.
If you can’t and you find yourselves lowering your voice – call us.