So it is vital to engineer proximity in the floorplate of a successful office environment. Serendipitous collaboration is also important to drive success in the workplace in the context of our contemporary workspaces, with the average person changing career trajectory around seven times over their working life. “While that is the case, it is often the situation that without serendipitous collaboration, those around a person will only know them for their current role or expertise, but if a person is able to come across a conversation happening around them, it is often the case that they may be able to provide insight and expertise in a situation unrelated to their current role, but pertinent to past experience – something only possible when proximity allows for this serendipitous connection.”
The conundrum arises when you have an energised floorplate focused on collaboration conflicts with the need for focus spaces where people can work without interruption.
“Research shows that if you can’t understand the audibility of a conversation around you, it may not be disruptive to focus. So it is not about creating silence, or reducing the quantity of sounds, it is about managing the quality of the sound.” Blair says.
“Sound bounces, reflecting off hard surfaces, and over time it will decay. The more hard surfaces are in a space, the longer that sound will take to decay. How you typically deal with that is by using soft, fibrous surfaces.”
Acoustic performance is an area of substantial research for PLN Group, and an area the company has developed extensive learnings in, now presenting their findings around the globe with the aim of improving people’s understanding of what can be achieved.
Many of PLN Group’s products are designed specifically for this purpose: to achieve more successful work spaces within the juxtaposed concepts of collaboration and focus.