The modern flexible workplace has to deliver on many opposing levels: collaboration vs individual focus; sharing vs confidential; relaxed and playful vs austere and businesslike.
When it’s impossible to concentrate for any useful length of time because of constant interruption from distant conversation.
When you feel the need to speak to your colleagues in hushed tones so you don’t disturb others or you simply need more privacy.
When you are self conscious when you need to have a serious conversation on the phone because you know everyone is listening.
In overly quiet officespace, collaboration wins over solo focus, sharing prevails over private conversation and your relaxed and playful interior design is silent and dead.
The problem here is acoustics or to be more accurate low ambient sound level.
Without ambient sound any office is difficult to work in. As ambient sound decreases, speech intelligibility increases equally and human activity is loud and clear against the silence background.
[at night when the ambient light is low you see the stars – they don’t go away during the day!]
The good news is that acoustic engineers have the answer.
Sound conditioning, is now a standard addition to any modern office environment. Sound conditioning, also known as sound masking (or even white noise if you go way back!) is the optimisation of ambient sound to maximise productivity, speech privacy and overall acoustic comfort. This technology uses a network of hidden speakers to distribute a subtle, unobtrusive sound similar to air conditioning throughout the workspace. The occupants, unaware of the sound naturally relax into an acoustically free environment.
Distant conversation is audible but unintelligible. Distraction decreases and concentration reigns.
Conversation is free and more private as the speaker knows they cannot hear others collaborate.
Productivity increases as workers get more done.