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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 goal is increased efficiency – a conventional office with each member of staff having his or her own workplace requires a lot of space, and much of it 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 Council] 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 conversations
• Check the lighting and ventilation
• Get staff involved when changes in rules are being considered