Manage noise in the office and your will get unimaginable returns. Why? Because, quite simply, office noise reduces productivity, engagement and the overall wellness of your people. And on the other hand, the required one-off investment to tackle the problem, or even better proactively avoid it, is not high whereas you will keep on reaping returns on it for ever…
Enjoy a uniquely positive asymmetric RoI
The rise of the open-plan office has nowadays given way to the new office-as-a-meeting-place where people come and go, only to interact ad-hoc with one another, brainstorm, collaborate, while a lot of the work is done remotely from home, while traveling or at the nearby café. Technology has enabled us to minimize personal work space or even replace it with first-come-first-served hot-desking, rendered most (or all) filing and its cupboards redundant, and replaced all desk equipment with one, a notebook or a tablet. Wireless access, remote printing, cloud sharing, video conferencing, they all resulted in smaller, but far more interesting working spaces.
Enter: Noise. The invisible enemy to all above things exciting. Not office sounds or speech, but noise. The reflection or transformation of office sounds to something that has no meaning, is unclear and useless like… noise! A number of recent studies prove the need to effectively manage noise in your office. Cornell’s Gary Evans and Dana Johnson proved that personnel who were exposed to open-office noise for just three hours had increased levels of epinephrine – often called adrenaline – increased stress and discomfort. Psychologist Nick Perham, an expert on the effect of sound on how we think, has found that office commotion impairs our ability to recall information, even to do basic arithmetic.
What’s even worse, is that the nastiest kind of noise is unfortunately what you get in poorly designed offices: intermittent speech. Hard to tune this type of noise out, you hear a few words here and there with pauses in between. One large scale meta-analysis of 242 studies found that performing cognitive tasks — like focusing, reading, processing text or working with numbers were much more impaired by intermittent speech than by either continuous speech or non-speech noise.
The truth is that designing a workspace today is a complex assignment that requires apart from knowledge and skills a well thought systemic professional approach. One needs to design not only the space aesthetically, but nurture a positive interaction of all people within it, with a clear view to the required output of the system i.e. its overall performance and RoI. And that’s what we do best consistently for 22 years at STIRIXIS Group. Our teams design so that noise is addressed efficiently by a) a combination of perfectly sound insulated areas of deep focus and concentration as well as b) common or open areas with state-of-the-art sound absorbing surfaces or noise canceling technology.
As we do with light design, we perform tests and simulations to reach the optimum noise level for your investment. You can see different examples in our many awarded projects such as the Coca Cola HSBC headquarters in Switzerland, where we used special high-end wooden sound-absorbing surfaces, or in retail areas, such as our Kostarelos Deli where wooden barrel strips trap the sounds in a noisy environment.
So, if you’re about to relocate, renovate or have your new offices designed, give us a call for a free assessment of your needs. Awarded in three continents for our office design projects, we will turn your company’s workspace in wonderful functional environment that will nurture innovation, creativity and engagement and convey your values and positioning in the most efficient way.