If office noise is such a problem, why don’t noisy coffee shops, airports, or co-working spaces bother us?
"The problem may be that, in our offices, we can’t stop ourselves from getting drawn into others’ conversations or from being interrupted while we’re trying to focus. Indeed, the EEG researchers found that face-to-face interactions, conversations, and other disruptions negatively affect the creative process."
This HBR article suggests the problem with noisy offices is more a matter of who's making the noise than how loud it is. Recent brain science suggests just the right amount of noise (i.e. coffee shop level) may enhance creativity.
Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) win 5 awards at IFMA World Workplace; Kate North, Global Chair and co-founder of WE, honored with prestigious Chair Citation
Workplace transformation strategist, change leader and community-builder Kate North was honored for her contributions to IFMA and to the facility management profession with a Chair Citation presented by 2017-2018 chair of IFMA’s board of directors William M. O'Neill, CFM.
Other awards went to WE leaders: Christopher Hood, Stephen Monaco, Diane Coles-Levine, and Nancy Sanquist-Johnson.
“As global chair of IFMA’s Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) Community, Kate North (Colliers) has led a group of forward-thinking workplace strategists to accelerate research, knowledge, and innovation around the emerging workplace,” said William O'Neill, CFM, Chair of IFMA’s Board of Directors. “Kate and the WE Community know the workplace is changing; but instead of watching it unfold, they’re making it happen.”
Distinguished Author Awards went to:
- Diane Coles-Levine, MCR (Workplace Management Solutions) and IFMA Fellow, Nancy Johnson Sanquist (Planon Software) for Work on the Move 2: How Social, Leadership and Technology Innovations Are Transforming the Workplace in the Digital Economy”
- Stephen Monaco (Monaco & Company) for his production of the inspirational "Who are WE?" video
Christopher Hood (Advanced Workplace Associates), co-founder of WE Global Chair Award his WE leadership, his commitment to sharing knowledge as the co-host of the WE:binars, and for his work with academic institutions toward expanding their real estate and FM programs to include a holistic approach to workplace transformation.
Hood also accepted the Community Award of Excellence in Communications award on behalf of WE.
Using nature to battle noise pollution in the office: Plantronics takes a creative approach to open office distractions
In the Netherlands, global headset manufacturer Plantronics is finding novel new ways to counter noise pollution in its new flagship smart workspace.
More and more businesses move to open plan environments in an attempt to engender higher collaboration between employees and better utilisation of the floor space by bringing in flexible or smart working practices.” But these actions, According to Paul Clark, Managing Director for Plantronics in Europe and Africa, are putting people in a “melting pot of noise.”
- Leesman’s research says dissatisfaction with “noise levels” is the strongest likely indicator that a person’s workplace is affecting their productivity
- Plantronics research shows that 93% of office workers claim to be adversely affected by the noise in their workplace
- 73% report that their employer takes no action to address the problem
- 61% of respondents say that they take matters into their own hands by listening to music and other audio through headphones
Plantronics opted for biophilic solutions, adding the sound of running water as an “overlay to the general hubbub” of the office.
“The Creative Studios offer choice to workers and allows them to modify their environments to fit their needs,” according to CallisonRTKL. “It’s a creative laboratory that inspires innovation, collaboration, and community while respecting individuality.”
American Greeting offers a choice of neighborhoods – for one-on-one meetings, larger group gatherings, noisier work sessions or quiet, heads-down work.
Most of the staff work in the office full-time. As a result unassigned space is limited. Only 8% of spaces are unassigned “touchdown” spaces.
Contrary to current workplace trends, American Greeting provides a one-to-one seat ratio using “traditional” panel-based furniture to minimize distraction for heads-down work.
Driven by a desire for flexibility and control, US Freelance workforce is growing faster than the overall US workforce. What can employers learn from this trend?
Upwork and Freelancers Union today released the results of “Freelancing in America: 2017. The fourth annual study estimates nearly 36% of the U.S. workforce freelances and the trend is growing.
Freelancers* are playing a bigger role in corporate work. Employers who haven't already should start thinking about policies, practices, and place implications. But they might also consider what they can learn from the trend:
- 63% of freelancers choose to freelance (versus doing so out of necessity). Top drivers include freedom, choice, and flexibility. Half say they wouldn't even consider a traditional job.
- 55% of freelancers participated in skills training last year compared to only 30% of non-freelancers.
- About half of full-time freelancers are thinking about the implications of automation, compared to only 18% of employees.
- Millennials are embracing freelance work more than any other generation; nearly half do so.
- 70% of freelancers would prefer taking home more pay and purchasing benefits on their own (rather than through an employer).
- Part-time freelancing is down; full-time is up 70%.
- The percent of those making more than $75k/year (36%) has increased over 100% in the last 3 years.
In short, people want flexibility and control and are willing to take care of themselves if given the opportunity.
* Freelance population comprised of 35% hybrid workers, 31% independent contractors, 23% moonlighters, 6% freelance business owners, and 6% temp workers)