In order to work well we need a suitable environment free of distractions, an environment that enables us to concentrate and that doesn’t burden our senses.
In open plan offices problems often arise with excessive noise. This can be disturbing for employees and may be reflected in the quality of their work. In fact, 70% of employees claim that a lower noise working environment improves their productivity.
Excessive noise can cause fatigue, poor mood, aggression, memory problems and loss of concentration. The noise level in offices can be reduced using acoustic panels installed to the ceiling or walls, or using special acoustic screens that limit reverberation.
of office workers are interrupted up to 20 times a day.
of workers are dissatisfied with their speech privacy.
University of California at Berkeley study
of employee time is spent trying to do quiet, focused work in one’s own workspace.
In addition to acoustics, room temperature also has an impact on work performance. A bad habit when using air-conditioning is setting a big difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, which leads to colds and other health problems.
In the summer the temperature in air-conditioned rooms should not be more than 5 degrees lower than the outdoor temperature. In the winter, on the other hand, an overheated office can result in fatigue and lethargy.
In any event, people in offices should have the opportunity to adjust the air-conditioning or heating settings.
For optimal productivity, the overall indoor temperature should be between 20-25 °C. However, the perception of a pleasant indoor climate differs per person. It depends on age, gender and personal preferences. One general climate automatically leads to complaints on a personal level. Recent scientific research shows that people who cannot influence the indoor climate are expected to be 6.3% less productive and have an average of 1.5 times more sick building complaints.
A major topic with respect to the office environment is lighting. Ideally an office should make use of daylight, and windows should have some form of adjustable shading so that the sunlight does not dazzle or shine directly on computer screens.
Artificial lighting must also be available that provides even illumination for all workstations without dazzling. As in the case of air-conditioning, systems exist that can be installed in a false ceiling. To avoid fatigue it is good to have lighting that has adjustable intensity. This makes it possible to match illumination with the daily biological rhythm – warm light in the morning, cold light during day and then back to a warm evening light.
We need light for vision and for carrying out activities. Various studies show that good lighting has a really positive impact on our health, wellbeing, alertness and even our sleep quality.
If it is insufficiently possible to benefit from dynamic daylight, dynamic artificial lighting can be helpful. This kind of lighting simulates the rhythm of the daylight. For example, the blue part of light (cold white) has an activating effect; it stimulates cognitive performance and concentration. Meanwhile, light with a large red part (warm light) has a relaxing effect.
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