Sound or noise?

2014-12-02

Sound or noise?

What are the acoustics in your workplace like? Kinnarps report an investigation by the World Green Building Council which shows that annoying noise reduces our work capacity by an average of no less than 66 procent.

You're absorbed in your work, when two colleagues suddenly stop right in front of your desk and start an animated discussion. It's happened to all of us. And of course it disturbs you, but there's not much you can do about it, so you just grate your teeth and start again. So how can this problem be solved in an open office environment? We obviously can't ban conversations and ringing telephones. On the other hand, we can eliminate the worst of the noise menace by making sufficient small meeting rooms available. Best of all, though, is of course an activity-based workplace, where you can choose for yourself where and how you want to work. And Kinnarps' activity-based concept Next Office provides such a total solution.
But a completely quiet workplace isn't desirable, either. In silence, creativity and energy disappear. A background noise level of around 45 decibels is normally recommended, since it contributes to drowning out disturbing noise and boisterous colleagues. It's also important to find the right acoustic balance. So the humming of the ventilation, for example, isn't necessarily a bad thing. But all workplaces are different, and you have to decide on what to prioritise - communication or concentration?