Are you one of many cubicle dwellers? Shoulder to shoulder with all your work pals…even the awkward ones. It’s tricky to get work done that cozy. That’s why many managers tried an open office floor plan. Surely the removal of barriers and partitions enable more productive work, right? Unfortunately no. Most workers find that the removal of barriers but still such close proximity to other workers is just as frustrating, possibly more so. While potentially helpful for collaboration, open offices carry the same noise problems as the traditional sea of cubicles. PayScale notes the following:
The standard sea of cubicles is all but forgotten in modern open-plan offices, which ditch walls and barriers to promote collaboration and collegiality. Employees have responded to the distractions open floor plans pose by wearing headphones, bolstering makeshift partitions with books and relocating behind file cabinets to regain their concentration. Are we nearing the end of this communication-fostering workplace layout?
Possibly. A growing number of offices with open floor plans are focusing on sound masking to improve speech privacy and regain lost productivity.
Are you one of those workers who come equipped with headphones and stacks of books to tune out your neighbors? I can’t imagine that extra stuff on your desk is fun, though listening to music might be…for a while. If you’re like me, your favorite tunes prove to be fairly distracting in and of themselves. Plus, how many time have you accidentally typed them in a work doc?
A much better solution for most is sound masking. While there are sound masking systems, another option a little more feasible for individual workers is a sound machine. The white noise helps your brain tunes out unwanted noise in the office so you can get and stay focused. You keep it on your desk and can turn it on and off whenever you want. Most people don’t notice the white noise, just the fact that they’re actually working!