‘Open-plan’ is a term used in architectural design for any floor plan that includes large open spaces and shared work areas, and minimises the use of enclosed rooms such as . Whilst a large percentage of companies have such office layouts, there is increasing evidence for why open-plan is a bad plan.
Here are 3 reasons why open-plan may be negatively affecting your health:
Playground for spreading of contagious illnesses
As with any open ‘indoors’ space, be it a bus, train, plane or your office, you are no doubt always in the presence of others and probably breathing in the re-circulated air that is pumped out through the air-conditioning system. Achoo! You’ve just launched approximately 40 000 droplets of potentially harmful germs into the air… and you are no doubt at a higher risk of catching something nasty yourself, purely by breathing and being in the same enclosed environment as others.
Increased stress levels
A phone rings, someone is laughing hysterically from across your desk, you hear the not-quite whispers of a nearby gossip session… the list goes on, and so does the noise that comes with it all. Constant background noise, unfortunately a by-product of open-plan offices, can increase stress levels and aggravate stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure and migraine headaches.
The onset of gradual deafness
If you are like most people, sometimes playing your own music through your earphones is a lot more bearable than having to listen to every irrelevant conversation that’s going on in the office. However, according to the US National Institute of Health, long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss; and the louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes to cause this. The average mp3 player has a rating of 105 decibels if played at maximum volume.
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