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A new generation of office furniture can help to create an oasis of calm in our hectic lives

Posted on July 3, 2016 by Paul Goodchild

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When it comes to our busy modern working lives, hell really can be other people. Office based staff can have enormous difficulties coming to terms with the sounds that form the backdrop to their working day, especially if they work in open plan areas. The problem with these kind of working environments is particularly acute because most UK employees now work in open plan offices and at workstations that are on average about 20 per cent smaller than they were ten years ago. The lack of privacy in open plan offices can be an enormous problem. A survey by office equipment manufacturer Brother found that employees lose up to two hours a day because of distractions caused by colleagues, phones, email and the general white noise of office life. By contrast, people working in total isolation, for example at home, were as much as 56 percent more productive.

However, much as we are aware of the harmful effects of noise and much as many people claim they would like to work in enclosed offices, the cost of space and the contemporary focus on teamworking dictate that the open plan is here to stay as the norm for most of them. Fortunately it is possible to reach some sort of balance between the often conflicting need for us to work in privacy but also communicate as part of teams.

Problems and solution arise first at an architectural level. Sound is prone to bounce off ceilings and follow sight lines so the way a building is designed can have a significant impact on noise levels in its interior. The type and shape of a building is often beyond the control of the organisations that inhabit them so, regardless of its architecture, there are several basic steps that a facilities manager or interior designer can take to deal with problems of noise in a building and one of the most exciting is a new generation of furniture products aimed at giving people a greater degree of acoustic (and visual) privacy.

One of these products is Cega by Boss Design. The chair’s elegant aesthetics are rooted in its symmetry, profile cut tubular construction and vertical fluted upholstery. But it is the chair’s function that makes it such a stunningly contemporary solution to the problem of providing an oasis in a frantic world. Its enclosed, contoured design minimises both peripheral visual distractions and noise, whilst the open top structure allows the user to enjoy a high degree of ambient light. Cega is available as a static unit or as a 360 degree swivel alternative making it the ideal product for the modern working environment in which personal touchdown spaces and informal meeting areas are so important in providing alternatives to desk- bound open plan working.