October 2019 issue

Open-plan offices are like Marmite. Some employees are remarkably fond of the spacious, collaborative environment whilst others have opposing viewpoints on their design. Of course, these workplace schemes are pleasing to the eye and encourage interaction amongst the workforce; however, there are also drawbacks to such open spaces that impede the productivity of staff.

The primary hindrance for an open-plan office is noise. Although prevalent within most offices, noise pollution within these interior schemes is dramatically exacerbated without the correct acoustic treatment. For example, I write from an ample-sized, high-ceilinged office; complete with hard surfaces and no acoustic treatment. Amidst the tinny sound of Greatest Hits Radio and muffled voices from next door’s office, there are also secondary noises thwarting concentration – the kettle reaching boiling point; the synchronised opening of Walkers crisp packets at 11am; the incessant tapping of pens – the list goes on. With countless distractions within a workplace, it’s easy to see why there is a love-hate relationship when it comes to working in an open-plan office.

One way to overcome these issues is to seek help from an acoustician. In this month’s issue, Ben Hancock of Oscar Acoustics imparts key findings from his research on noise pollution within the workplace. Turn to page 36 to discover the staggering statistics from 2000 UK employees on noise in the workplace.

A 2019 issue wouldn’t be complete without a Brexit mention – particularly in October – so we have talked to Matthew Davies, Immigration Solicitor at Wright Hassall, about the Government White Paper proposals for a post-Brexit immigration scheme. Turn to page 26 to read his advice.

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