Everyone requires a different set of circumstances to concentrate. And every job calls for a different level of communication. But why is it that the only sound emanating from many of today’s offices is the sleepy hum of electronic equipment?
The demand by some companies for office silence is counter-productive, even Dickensian in its approach to basic human psychology. Silence can be deafening. A noisy office has its problems, too. But any boss who encourages a library-like atmosphere isn’t helping the employees or the company.
A quiet office is bad because:
1. Quiet effectively kills open communication. If you’re talking to a colleague or have an issue you need to discuss with someone, quiet will enable the world to hear your conversation. Being reduced to whispering is childish and stepping behind closed doors creates a climate of secrecy and suspicion, even fueling paranoia.
2. A silent office makes people self-conscious.
Knowing you have an unintended audience can change the way you communicate. It’s sort of like reality TV stars—how can they really be themselves when there’s a camera in their face? The people who are talking are influenced, and the audience, many of whom are trying to do their jobs, are distracted because any noise—even a simple chat—slices through the silence.
Read the rest of my post at U.S. News & World Report.