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  • SMART WORKPLACE

    Facilities managers must account for noise factor in open offices

    by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on July 1, 2013
     


    One of the challenges facilities managers face when trying to manage space is the dilemma between open and closed offices. On one hand, employees often enjoy working in open spaces, as it enables them to communicate freely and collaborate on projects with ease. On the other hand, the bigger and more open rooms become, the more potential there is for distracting levels of noise.

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    Noises are everywhere in an office. Whether it's people typing on their computers, rummaging through cabinets or carrying on conversations, they're all making sounds that can derail a productive worker. Some try to wear headphones to block out the distractions, but according to Julian Treasure, chairman of The Sound Agency, that can make the problem even worse.

    "Many people take refuge in headphones, but they turn public spaces into millions of tiny sound bubbles," Treasure told TechTarget. "No one's listening to anybody. We're becoming impatient. We don't want oratory, we want sound bites, and the art of conservation is being replaced by personal broadcasting."

    Even Time Magazine agrees - open offices, though built for collaboration, have become hotbeds of stress. Facilities managers have turned in a variety of directions to alleviate this problem. Some try to redesign their offices and make them more productive, while others have embraced the practice of teleworking. Nothing is more important to an office than productivity, and facilities managers are looking for ways to improve their offices every day.