Investigating the Effect of Indoor Soundscaping on Speech Privacy in Open Offices
Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 15:20 - 15:40
0.6 Madrid (49)
Open-plan offices are believed to promote communication and interaction between employees. However, these spaces are also associated with the lack of privacy and uncontrolled noise levels as auditory environment of an open-plan office cannot be improved by simply decreasing the sound levels. When speech privacy is taken into consideration, the lack of sound does not always mean a positive working environment. This research considers speech privacy in relation with the auditory environment, using indoor soundscape approach. Aim of this research is to explore how employees perceive different sound sources and understand if they can contribute to speech privacy. In order to achieve this goal, objective measurements and subjective surveys are conducted at two open planned offices. Their acoustical characteristics are analysed using on-site measurements and ODEON Room Acoustics Software, Reverberation Time (RT), Equivalent Sound Pressure Level (Leq), Sound Transmission Index (STI) are measured. In order to reflect employees’ perception of the indoor soundscapeing, Grounded Theory method is used. Semi- structured interviews are conducted with 30 employees to develop a conceptual model. The results have shown that, in a relatively quiet office space (Leq = 49.60 dBA), without any intentional masking sounds, participants are uncomfortable with the lack of speech privacy. More than half of the participants (60%), perceive computer fan, keyboard and mouse sounds as positive sound sources. Semi structured interviews have also revealed that %83 of participants are in favour of using music as background sound.
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