Round Table: Future Office Workspace, HD Movies
The conclusion was that the main driving forces for the office of 2020 were:
1. Leadership and corporate culture
2. Empowered employees
5. Company Identity
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The conclusion was that the main driving forces for the office of 2020 were:
1. Leadership and corporate culture
2. Empowered employees
5. Company Identity
On September 25th, 09:00-11:00, a round table session will be held in Malmö, Southern Sweden. Diane Stegmeier, leading expert and globally renowned author and speaker, discusses with Scandinavian and German experts about creating the effective workplace and workforce of the future.
The event will be live streamed to our youtube channel
On july 2nd 2013, a full day to discuss office acoustics will be held in Paris. The event is organized by the Centre d’Information et de Documentation sur le Bruit (CIDB) and the Vie Quotidienne et Audition (VQA ). The forum aims to shed light on acoustic issues in offices and is a great opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences. Participants will also be able to experiment solutions available to improve the soundscape and office communication.
For more info about the event and registration info read here
Should we just accept that it takes 20 metres for the sound level of someone’s voice to drop to a comfortable non-distracting level, or should we reduce this to 10 metres so that workgroup-to-workgroup distractions are minimized?
In the Nordic Innovation report “Acoustic design of open-plan offices” , it was found that in a Swedish call centre, when reducing the distance for the sound to drop from 60 to 40 dBA from more than 16m before acoustic refurbishment to less than 4m thereafter, the proportion of people rating their acoustical environment as “bad” was reduced from 40% to 10%, and the proportion rating it as “good” increased from 20% to 60%.
(foto: Martin Palven)
Lately there has been great focus on a yet not published research made by Aram Seddigh, scientist in offices from Stress Research Institute Stockholm University, with over 3000 persons interviewed about wellbeing, productivity and leadership. 45 % are not satisfied sitting i open office!
A study has published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management has concluded that the switch to open-plan has led to lower productivity and higher worker stress.
"The high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity, there are privacy issues because everyone can see what you are doing on the computer or hear what you are saying on the phone, and there is a feeling of insecurity.'', sais Dr Vinesh Oommen from the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation.
The Ecophon office network joined up in an effort to raise acoustic awareness among the facility management community, at EFMC 2012, trying to emphasise the importance of thinking about acoustics at an early stage, and the influence of acoustics to people's satisfaction, performance and well-being.
Facility managers, workplace designers, and others within the >700 attendants at this international conference were curious about discussing the question "How does your office sound?". Many of them were aware of the difficulties with acoustics in offices, particularly in open spaces and were interested in talking about possible solutions.
The new standard ISO 3382-3: Acoustics -- Measurement of room acoustic parameters -- Part 3: Open plan offices, has now officially been published and can be downloaded as pdf using this link
The new standard ISO 3382-3: Acoustics -- Measurement of room acoustic parameters -- Part 3: Open plan offices, has now officially been approved and moved on to publication stage 60.00 (2011-12-19), which categorises it as an international standard under publication.
The main points of this standard as experienced by Acoustic Bulletin, is the fact that reverberation time is not included, as it is not regarded as a trustworthy quality in open space environments. Instead qualities related to the distance the sound travels are introduced.
The technical report entitled "Acoustic design of open-plan offices" from the Nordic Innovation Centre about the acoustic conditions in five open-plan offices situated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland is now available on the webpage.
The report proposes measurement procedures of the spatial decay parameters DL2 and DLf, which in turn can be converted to a single parameter called distance of comfort.
Download it here.
A Danish study by Pejtersen JH, Feveile H, Christensen KB, Burr H claims that sickness absence increases when sharing offices and in open-plan spaces.
The analysis was based on a national survey of Danish inhabitants between 18–59 years of age (response rate 62%), and the study population consisted of the 2403 employees that reported working in offices. The different types of offices were characterized according to self-reported number of occupants in the space.
A survey among 1200 employees shows that six in ten percieve the sounds in the workplace as disturbing. Sounds from the surrounding people, not computers or fans, disturbs the most. Frans Davidsson recently made recommendations based on the results from this study in swedish magazine Chef.
Frans Davidsson, Concept Developer - Modern Office, Ecophon Sweden
According to Frans, it is not the sound from people who sit the closest that we get upset about. On the contrary, those sitting within four to five meters from us, we like to hear. "Sounds coming from the people around us are generally perceived as positive. Humans are curious by nature. We want to hear what we may find useful"
We are pleased to announce that the final report entitled "Acoustic design of open-plan offices" from the Nordic Innovation Centre about the acoustic conditions in five open-plan offices situated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland will shortly be published.
This report will soon be available via download at the Nordic Innovation Centre Homepage. We'll keep you posted!
Sometimes the answer is closer than you think...
When asking people what annoys them at the office you often hear the answer: "My co-worker speaks to loud on the phone" or "My colleagues are so noisy when talking and laughing". Therefore, it is perhaps not that surprising that this report states that sound propagation, spatial decay and distance of comfort are important factors to take into account in the acoustic design of open plan offices.
TOTI is the name of a new project in Finland, coordinated by the Institute of Occupational Health, with the objective to provide holistic guidance in future office design.
This unique project combines environmental psychology, acoustics, ventilation, HVAC design and real estate business.
For more info and for pdf download click here
In the ISO working group WG 19 a work has been started to produce a new measurement standard as a part three in the ISO 3382 series. To combine the experience from North America concerning cellular office design with the European open-plan office design is a challenge for the ISO working group.
Jonas Christensson made an interview with Andrew Parkin, Technical Director at RPS. They met shortly after Andrew had finished his lecture and Jonas grasped the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions.
What are the most important things to consider when we should create a good sound environment in open plan offices?
Listen to Andrew's answer (1,20 minutes)
How do we solve the need of concentration in open plan offices?
Listen to Andrew's answer (2,20 minutes)
More about Andrew Parkin or RPS Group:
Andrew Parkin - Technical Director, Birmingham Newland House - P&D
Tel: +44 (0)121 456 1560
Shortly after her presentation, Monika Rychtarikova was interviewed by Marielle Klijn.
The title of her presentation was: "speech transmission index and articulation index in the context of open plan offices".
One of the conclusions of her session is that reverberation time is not an adequate quantity to fully describe the acoustical comfort.
Please find out more by listening to the interview:
Recently Jonas Christensson, Concept Developer at Ecophon handed over some tips to the readers of Arbetslivet, an online magazine about the quality of the work environment.
Jonas specificlly looked at one of the most challlengeing and discussed areas in office premises, namely the open felxible plan solution.
Click here to read the article online.
Use the google translator option to read it in your local language (non Swedish)
It is sometimes said that open-plan offices put employees under pressure
making them visible. The solution is to withdraw from the eyes of others.
Here is the video of hiding from your colleagues ... to relax
A symposium on speech comfort, acoustics and learning was organised by Ljudmiljöcentrum (Listening Lund – The Sound Environment Centre at Lund University, Sweden) in cooperation with Saint-Gobain Ecophon and the Swedish Acoustical Society.
This was a very fruitful occasion, for people with various backgrounds and a keen interest in sound and acoustics, to exchange knowledge and experience.
The increased number of people working in open-plan offices has revealed the lack of knowledge regarding how to design an acoustical environment that’s supporting the activities going on there. Challenges in open-plan office design are to create an environment both for concentration and communication without disturbances between different working groups. In a Nordic Innovation Centre project the acoustic conditions in five open-plan offices have been investigated. The offices were situated in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
A fierce debate occurred recently, mainly regarding the negative effects of open-plan offices. Open-plan offices make people ill – we could read in media! Stress, colds and decreased productivity are the backsides, Australian researchers say. In 90 percent of the research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative! Can it really be so bad?
Ill. Logica Call Centre, Bridgend, UK
A lot has been written about working conditions in call centres and other customer contact centres, but actually very little about acoustics. Apart from the fact that they are noisy and that employees tend to suffer from noise exposure similar to that of industry workers.
That is why, the French Stadardization body AFNOR, supported by INRS, a French Institute competent in the area of occupational risk prevention, organizes a full day on the subject. Some of the contributions:
- ergonomical approach
- hearing risks related to call centre work
- acoustic perfomance of call centre facilities: descriptors, workstation treatment vs room acoustic treatment, developments in head set technology and training of workers.
Venue: AFNOR, St Denis
Date: 19th of November, 9.15 - 17.15
This is an interview with PhD Valtteri Hongisto, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and Adjunct Professor at Helsinki University of Technology.
He has performed a lot of acoustic research and has been involved in the creation of standards and guidelines, for example the Acoustic Classification of Spaces in buildings SFS 5907. Also he is one of the writers of the coming Finnish Classification on indoor climate.
Valtteri mentioned that the ISO standard 3382-3 will only deal with open-plan office acoustics and not with open plans in general, like in schools, libraries or hospitals. The focus will be on spacial attenuation and speech intelligibility. By doing that we can judge the performance at any distance from the speaker.
Listen to the interview (3,47 minutes).
By Pauli Pallaskorpi, Concept Developer - Education and Markku Hirvonen, Concept Developer - Healthcare, Ecophon Finland.
Open office acoustics is today probably one of the most active architectural acoustics areas in terms of standardization.
Several standards, both national and international provide us with a powerful set of descriptors.
Interview (1,47 minutes) with Pierre Chigot, Concept Developer - Offices, Ecophon France.
By Tina Frisbæk Jensen, Concept Developer - Offices, Ecophon Denmark.
Erling Nilsson, Acoustic Specialist, Ecophon.
Some reflections on the afternoon's session about acoustic for open-plan spaces. It was interesting to note that there exists some consencus concerning evaluation of the acoustical conditions in open-plan spaces. Measures like DL2 and DLf were frequently used in the presentations as well as methods for transforming these values into user friendly descriptors like e.g. radius of comfort. A good start of the conference and it will be really interesting to take part of coming events at one of the largest conferences ever.
High demands on acoustics
They choose to create a room structure with high acoustic features to secure that transparency does not lead to an increase of soundlevels. The focus is on creating a mentally relaxing environment, both visually as well as acoustically. The design should provide the activities that are sensitive to or generate noise to be limited by the room interior.
As previously announced, specific sessions on Open plan office acoustics respectively Call Centre acoustics took place yesterday 4th July at the European Forum on Effective Solutions for Managing Occupational Noise Risks in Lille (France).
The sessions gathered approxilately 80 persons and vivid disussions took place after the presentations.
Ecophon co-organised yesterday with AFNOR, the French standardization body, a seminar called “Office Acoustics” (see invitation). A broad representation from various stakeholders of the office sector confirmed the interest for tools to support the acoustic planning of offices. NF S31-080 is definitely one.
A Canadian guide defines best practice in sustainable, public financed office buildings. In section 2.9.1, named "Flanking and Isolation", performance criteria and methods are addressed:
When the Dutch energy company Essent refurbished one of their open plan offices, it was decided that the room should be separated in several zones.
"Sound design of open plan offices" is a Nordic research initiative, partly financed by the Nordic Innovation Center to identify room acoustic parameters and measurement methodology for open-plan offices. The objective is to guarantee an appropriate sound environment for open plan office workers. This includes extensive case studies of typical open plan offices in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Under the coming two years, the project will involve open plan and room acoustics specialists from five Nordic acoustic consultancy firms Helimäki Ltd, Delta Acoustics, Brekke & Strand, Erling Nilsson Akustik and Ingemansson Technology
Ecophon is initiative taker and owner of the project, to be ended 2008.
Project Manager is Anna Berglöw, Ingemansson Technology.
Communication of the findings to the architect profession as well as open office end-user organisations are important aspects of the project.
NF S31- 080, Acoustics - Offices and associated areas - Acoustic performance levels and criteria by type of area, published January 2006, is the first French standard on office acoustics. It is designed as a reference document for clients to express their requirements, as well as a guide-line for office designers.
Call centres are acoustically challenging environments. Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2107:2000 "Recommended design sound levels and reverberation times for building interiors" addresses call centres.
Statskontoret Technical Standard TS 26:6 "Acoustical Noise Emission of Information Technology Equipment" specifies how to measure, declare and verify noise emission values of information technology equipment and also recommends acceptable upper limits for declared A-weighted sound power levels. Originally from Sweden it is widely used internationally when purchasing IT equipment.
Intrusive sounds, noise, make us tired and irritable. It has a negative effect on our performance, especially when working on tasks that depend on short-term memory. Noise in the office has a negative impact in three ways ... read more
The new Swedish Work Environment Authority’s Statute Book on Noise (AFS Buller, 2005:16) has recently been published, and will be valid starting 1st July 2005.
The Statute Book aims at supporting the new EU legislation on noise exposure of workers (2003/10/EG).
One of the main new items is that disturbing speech from others can be a problem.
Read the answer from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work.
“Effects of sound in offices: subjective experience vs objective assessment”
Author: Chigot Pierre
Source: Facilities, March 2005, vol. 23, no. 3-4, pp. 152-163(12)
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Ecophon is supporting a research study conducted at Cardiff University, School of Psychology by Professor Dylan Jones and Dr Simon Banbury. The aim is to look at the effects of stress and anxiety on the disruption of tasks by office noise.
The concept of speech privacy in offices relates to the degree of speech disturbance between two individuals who are not in conversation with each other. One is talking and the other one “happens to hear”:
* speech is intrusive since it is not useful to the listener (poor speech privacy = disturbance)
* speech of personal character is “leaking” from the speaker to surrounding workstations. (poor speech privacy = frustration)