Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg is a major centre for research into how variations in workplace design affect areas such as stress, absence through illness, concentration etc. Currently, there is a clear trend towards activity-based offices with different zones for work, meetings, relaxation and so on.
The objective is higher efficiency – a traditional office in which every member of staff has his or her own workplace demands a lot of space, space which is often empty. Studies have shown that switching to an open office landscape can reduce the cost of premises by up to 50%.
Stressforskningsrådet [the Stress Research Counci at Stockholm University has compiled a list of important points for organisations considering investing in an open office landscape:
- Install carpets and sound absorbers to cut down on the noise level
- Mobile phones and computers must be set in soundless mode
- Have plenty of meeting rooms and quiet rooms
- Take special care of noise-sensitive members of staff – place them where the acoustic environment is good
- Set aside special rooms for mobile phone conversationsl
- Check the lighting and ventilation
- Get staff involved when changes in rules are being considered