To read this content please select one of the options below:

Performance loss in open‐plan offices due to noise by speech

Paul Roelofsen (Grontmij|Technical Management, Amersfoort, The Netherlands)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to show how the performance of the personnel can be negatively affected by conversations, adjacent to the working space, in an open‐plan office environment.


Using two scientific mathematical models it is possible to quantify the performance losses, as a result of adjacent conversations, with various desk layouts in an open‐plan office.


The results obtained from the underlying Finnish study can be improved by applying a regression analysis to the recorded research results. The modified deviation formula not only corresponds more closely to the research results, but also produces a better translation of the speech intelligibility index to the intelligibility qualifications, as shown in the guideline NPR 3438.


It is reasonable to conclude that performance loss, as a result of a poor acoustic situation, can be related to the speech intelligibility in a space. The relationship between the speech intelligibility index and performance loss makes it possible to design on the basis of productivity improvement, resulting in a comfortable acoustic working environment and a consistent financial advantage for the organisation.



Roelofsen, P. (2008), "Performance loss in open‐plan offices due to noise by speech", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 202-211.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles