Modern offices must have an appropriate mix of rooms and places where employees can concentrate and reflect, work together and learn. Many studies confirm that noise is one of the three most annoying factors in large, open-plan offices.
Digital collaboration tools and mobile devices are changing the way the modern workplace needs to be organised.
“We can see that a lot of people spend much of their working day communicating and being in touch with their organisation using virtual collaboration tools such as Skype, WebEx and GoToMeeting,” says Philip Tidd, an office design expert at the design and architecture firm Gensler.
“That is the digital workplace. And then there is the physical workplace, and employees typically move between the two several times in the course of a working day. It is these movements that create new and interesting challenges for the workplace,” he says, pointing out that modern office design must incorporate rooms and places for concentration and reflection, for working together and for learning.
The interview with Philip Tidd is part of a new theme on office design at www.troldtekt.com. Here, Dr Christian Nocke from Akustikbüro Oldenburg describes how noise is repeatedly mentioned in various studies as one of the three most annoying aspects of working in large, open-plan offices:
“The number of employees is only a small factor when looking at possible acoustic design solutions. On the other hand, the work being performed in a particular room plays a very important role.” He adds:
“There is, of course, a big difference between a call centre where phone calls are being made all the time, and an office where the employees are quieter when they are working. The balance between concentration and communication determines the acoustic requirements. These human factors should therefore be given a much higher priority when working with a room’s acoustics instead of solely thinking about materials, surfaces and technical properties.”
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