blog of acoustics, noise, vibration & audio-visual systems
I used to work at a very large engineering firm that had the “cube farm” open plan office setup (which I referenced in a previous blog). The cubicles were arranged in work groups, and the groups were arranged by clients and market segments. From my desk, the groups to my right and left engineered for a specific client, and the groups in front of and behind me engineered similar products. This open plan office layout scheme made it very easy for the engineers to identify strengths, as well as figure out boundaries, based on the privacy needs each client requested. The ambient noise on the floor was quite low and confidential privacy was difficult to achieve.¬† There was a general din from all the activity, but each of the adjoining groups could pretty clearly hear the other and our work at hand was the only thing that really helped to avoid distraction. (more)
Have you ever noticed how some sounds catch your attention and others do not? For example, you are driving down the road thinking of your plans for the day and all of a sudden you hear a squeak in the dashboard. It draws your attention immediately, while the air conditioning fan likely does not. The squeak is intermittent (and likely tonal, but that’s a topic for another blog) and therefore stands out over the more constant sound of the fan. This reaction is similar to vision, where our attention is drawn by moving objects much more so than stationary ones. (more)
We regularly receive phone calls regarding closed office privacy concerns. The acoustical challenges of an open office environment are manifold, but crosstalk between closed office spaces can be just as distracting. Typically, when these calls come in, we have a standard list of questions that we ask the potential clients about their current environment to try to get an understanding of why they feel they have no privacy between closed offices. (more)
In a former life I worked for a very large engineering company with over 1,000 engineers working in an open plan office, everyone working on one floor. We lovingly referred to our floor as the “cube farm”. One day I arrived at the office just as the lunch crowd was making their mass exodus. Although I was frustrated by my inability to enter the building, I couldn’t help but think of the old “how many college kids can fit into a VW Beetle” gag as I waited for the never-ending trail of people to exit the building.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that most companies are decreasing the amount of working space allotted for individual employees. (more)
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