The Quest for Quiet. (Workplace Issues).
Faxes, conference calls on speakerphones, impromptu face-to-face
meetings, ringing phones-office noise is beginning to grate on
employees' nerves, reports The Wall Street Journal in "Shut Up
So We Can Do Our Jobs." Open-office designs that favor cubicles and
pods in an effort to maximize space as well as promote communication and
collaboration among employees have contributed to the dearth of what one
commercial architect calls "acoustical privacy." Rising
tensions over noisy workspaces have led to such innovative practices,
reports the Journal, as "wrapping cubicle panels in extra fabric;
hanging decorative, sound-absorbing bunting from the ceiling; and
affixing cork wallboards to conference rooms and hallways." Another
sign of the times: sales of Steelcase, Inc.'s wall panels that
extend all the way to the ceiling have also increased 80 percent in the
past three years.