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In cubicleland every human grunt counts
I work in a cubicle. I don’t love it but I’ve adapted. After all, to do my job, all I need is a computer and a power outlet. In the past, working for print media I had to have a library of dictionaries and other reference materials so a semi-office (and once an office) was necessary. Now, with the current technology, the need for space has decreased and like most office workers I can be enclosed like a human cow in a pen from nine-to-five and I’m Ms. Productive. But in order to be able to be Ms. Productive, I often have wear headphones to block the noise around me. It’s not that there’s a lot of it — not at all — but I’m easily distracted. I listen to repetitive electronic music, sometimes classical — stuff without words either because lyrics distract me too.
In the recent article From Cubicles, Cry for Quiet Pierces Office Buzz the author, John Tierney, wrote about cubicle culture and research that showed that “[a]fter surveying 65,000 people over the past decade in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, report that more than half of office workers are dissatisfied with the level of ‘speech privacy,’ making it the leading complaint in offices everywhere.”
In other words, the open office model may not be the ideal workspace as was originally believed. And it’s not even some obvious crazy noise like a jackhammer breaking concrete outside the windows — it’s actually other people’s conversations that prove more distracting in an office. “Noise is the most serious problem in the open-plan office, and speech is the most disturbing type of sound because it is directly understood in the brain’s working memory,” an acoustician, Valtteri Hongisto, was quoted saying in the article.
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