The Sound Agency News: Finding quiet (and maybe even peace) at work
Check out the Harvard Business Review’s article about finding peace and quiet in noisy offices.
“My uncle has a farm in Meriwether County, Georgia. When I was a kid, I spent weekends there camping, fishing, and spending time with family and friends. It was my place to wonder and wander. In a time before mobile devices, I could lie in the grass looking up at the stars and experience real solitude and silence. There were no car engines or text message alerts. The silence created space for reflection and imagination.
On a recent workday, in contrast, a venue near my office held an all-day rock concert that shook the windows in my office with sound checks and live music from 9 a.m. until I went home. The previous day I’d made a day trip to New York — a 16-hour cacophony of jet engines, pilot announcements, car horns, and strangers talking loudly into mobile phones. My experiences are not unique. Most of us now live and work in noisy environments. The ubiquity of electronic devices and the density of the cities in which we live mean that few of us regularly experience silence.
All this noise is bad for us. Julian Treasure, chairman of the Sound Agency, has documented a number of these impacts in detail (PDF), noting, for example, that according to the World Health Organization 40% of Europe is exposed to noise levels that could lead to disturbed sleep, raised blood pressure, and potentially increased incidences of heart disease. The European Commission has estimated the total health and productivity costs of road traffic noise in Europe alone at €30–46 billion. And one study indicates that one in three Americans now suffers hearing impairment as a result of noise in the environment. Stephen A Stansfeld and Mark P Matheson (PDF), in a similar roundup of the health impacts of noise, note many of those highlighted by Treasure as well as high incidences of good old-fashioned “annoyance” in adults and children…” [READ MORE]