Study: less cognitive stress in open-plan offices with good acoustics

124258 Sunbyberg MunicipalitySaint- Gobain Ecophon and the Stress Research Institute in Stockholm conducted a unique study in a real-life office environment to examine how sound affects people in open plan offices.

The aim was to see how the ceiling’s properties affect workers’ health, productivity and the perceived disturbance.

And the result was clear – a better sound environment significantly improves work effectiveness :

  • less disturbance in general
  • less disturbance at close range
  • less disturbance at long range
  • less cognitive stress

A unique set-up

The design of the study is unique in its kind due to the fact that:

The study is a field study carried out in real-life conditions, whereas most other studies of sound environments are carried out in controlled conditions. A field study can produce significantly more credible results since psychological factors are taken into account.

The study is based on a crossover design that involved two different control groups. The same results were observed within both control groups.

The study was set up on two floors of Sundbyberg City Hall near Stockholm.

The floors were virtually identical with the same layout, furnishings and the same number of workstations with people performing similar tasks.

The ceiling was equipped with sound absorbers with Articulation Class 190.

151 employees took part in the study.

Read the full story around the study here.

Or read an interview with the researcher here.

Office Environments 117 Research 163

Related Blog Posts