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Quiet Spaces

The Case for Quiet

The trend of more open floor plans is not going away. Balancing the need for collaboration and concentration is key to worker performance and job satisfaction. By one estimate, introverts comprise 1/3 to 1/2 of a given workforce. But it’s not just introverts who occasionally need a quiet place to think or have a private conversation. 90% of workers say they need quiet, private places. More than 40% say they don’t have them.

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What Difference Does It Make?

Every company is searching for a competitive edge. When workers are distracted by a space that’s too noisy or too busy, productivity suffers. By providing a quiet space that offers a palette of postures workers can move and become more engaged.

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Anatomy of a Quiet Space

A well-conceived quiet space is free from visual and audible distractions. It enables focus, creative thinking and problem solving. It’s a comfortable place to engage in deep conversation with a colleague, where information can be shared easily and kept confidential if necessary. It offers writing or display surface, digital or analog information sharing, adjustable lighting and comfortable seating.

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Susan Cain Quiet Spaces by Steelcase

The principles behind five unique Susan Cain Quiet Spaces recognize the diverse ways people work and succeed at their jobs. In this video, Cain discusses the importance of a space that integrates architecture, furniture and technology to support different postures, work modes and individual desires for privacy or a quiet environment. V.I.A. by Steelcase is the wall system that forms the basis for these highly adaptive rooms. With excellent acoustical privacy and integrated technology access, V.I.A. helps create an environment where creative thinking can flourish.

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Insights

 Permission to Be Alone: Making quiet spaces spaces available signals that an organization understands and respects the need for some to work differently.

 Control Over the Environment: Introverts are more sensitive to stimulation and often have a lower tolerance for noise and light. It’s important for them to be able to control these elements.

 Sensory Balance: Contrary to expectations, introverts seek sensory stimulation, but often in the form of warm, calming influences, such as natural woods and other organic materials.

 Psychologically Safe: Introverts often feel as if all eyes are on them. At times they need a place where they can choose to be unseen, either for rejuvenation or focus.