We hang around a lot in offices. Yeah most of the time we are installing desks and monitor arms and partition systems. It's mostly furniture. Physical stuff that (we hope) improves a work environment.
But whilst we are hanging around we pick up some common things to pretty much all workplaces. What are they ? (you may ask ???)
We've gone through the issue of "air quality" in other blog posts but open offices also have a huge sound problem. It can take many different forms - too much sound, noisy neighbours, echo's, bad music piped constantly, library-like feeling.
These can all be addressed on a macro level (changes across the whole office ) but if this doesn't happen - you're pretty much on your own.
So it seems to us that a good pair of noise cancelling headphones is essential.
But nowadays, you can do more than just tune out to your own beats. This Bose article goes through some of the other possibilities that a good pair of headphones offer. By the way, we aren't Bose dealers and we have no intention of selling any headphones !
This article will go over most of the features but here's an overview:
1. You may get sick of listening to music that will drown out the environmental sound and having good buds or good "wrap arounds" operate as ear muffs as well. They will dampen sound !!! Great for a neighbour,s conversation you don't want to be a part of ?
2. You want to be able to take calls as well. Easy cutting in and out of calls is essential. Also group calls where you may want to hear one persons contribution more than another's sounds REAL useful to me ?
3. Turn off one ear completely so you can be part of your environment and not appear to be completely zoned out ?
4. Use your headphones as a verbal user interface to your PC without driving everyone around you mad. Good headphones pick up your voice better and allow you to start making calendar meetings and other straight forward PC interactions with ease.
Most employers may balk at the cost of these headphones but my suggestion is that if you are going into a job in an open office environment - consider making the investment yourself. It may well save your sanity ?