Noisy open-plan offices could be affecting workers’ wellbeing and productivity, argues Jeremy Luscombe.

When you think about noise in the workplace, an image of a factory worker, donning some unsightly earmuffs and surrounded by churning machines is usually conjured. But this stereotype is rapidly changing.

Spurred on by a growing body of evidence and media attention, the bane of noise is fast becoming as much a consideration for brick and mortar offices as it is for the manufacturing industry, and it’s about time we all listen up.

Rewind seven years to 2011 and Channel 4 presenter and architecture critic, Tom Dyckhoff, is strapping on an electroencephalography (EEG) cap and sitting down to do what so many of us do every day – work in an office. The experiment, part of the programme The Secret Life Of Buildings, used the EEG cap, which measures electrical activity in the brain, to try and determine just how the brain works in an office environment.

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