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From Cubicles, Cry for Quiet Pierces Office Buzz – NYTimes.com

The walls have come tumbling down in offices everywhere, but the cubicle dwellers keep putting up new ones. They barricade themselves behind file cabinets. They fortify their partitions with towers of books …

MORE via From Cubicles, Cry for Quiet Pierces Office Buzz – NYTimes.com.

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One Response

  1. Joseph Ting says:

    Art of maintaining a dignified silence, Richard King, The WE Australian Review of Books, May 26-27 2012
    Re Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, Susan Cain
    With limitless appetite for self-referencing talk and need for constant attention, extroverts dominate contemporary social life. They assume effusive talkcasts to be welcomed by everyone within hearing rage. Susan Cain’s ear-splitting “culture of personality” could include open plan offices that are the introvert’s worst nightmare [Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, Susan Cain]. Such workspaces abet noise annoyance and repeated disruptions to work focus from colleagues’ conversations and phone calls, with next to no means of mitigation or escape. Aside from impaired work performance and intensified cognitive demands to filter out loud, persistent and often startlingly unpredictable distractions, unwanted indoor noise is associated with adverse health outcomes, reduced self-rated health and job satisfaction. A large amount of office banter occur within exclusive social cliques that have nothing to do with work; intrusive social activity in the limited confines of a shared office is associated with chronic stress, hypertension and sleep problems. Head phones and other strategies used by introverts to screen out the noise are often viewed as unsociable by free range talkers. The time is ripe for an Introverts’ Rights Revolution.

    Its not just reduced productivity but impaired health that one needs to worry about in shared work spaces. Open plan offices abet noise annoyance and exacerbate repeated disruptions to work focus from fellow workers’ conversations and phone calls. Aside from lower work performance and intensifying cognitive demands to filter out loud, persistent and often startlingly unpredictable distractions, unwanted indoor noise is associated with adverse health outcomes related to reduced self-rated health and job satisfaction. In a nationally representative study published in theScandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health in 2011, higher work absence occurred in employees in shared and open plan offices in the Danish Work Environment Study. This was attributed to chronic stress and heightened potential for conflict from intrusive ambient noise and non-auditory disturbance. We already know that office noise is associated with higher stress hormone levels, hypertension and sleep problems; the worry is that higher mortality risk observed in residents living close to busy highways or underneath noisy flight paths could potentially also apply to long-term exposure to noisy workplaces. Far from enhancing work collaboration, a large amount of office banter occur within social cliques in implied zones of exclusion and have nothing to do with work. Permanently implanted head phones and other strategies to screen out the noise are often viewed as unsociable by free range talkers which in turn leads to intercollegiate friction.

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