Some slightly noisy peace and quiet.

I’m currently working in an open concept space – surrounded by whiteboards, but not, ironically, people who are working collaboratively*.  Thus, the space has become a “quiet only” zone.

Given the recent studies that shows ambient noise is a booster of productivity and creativity (eg. http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/10.1086/665048, which you should take with a grain of salt – I haven’t read anything other than the title), I thought I’d share something that my colleague introduced me to… http://coffitivity.com/.

It’s been featured on lifehacker, and plenty of other places.   Given that I don’t drink coffee, you wouldn’t think it would be particularly useful, but surprisingly, I’m enjoying having ambient noise.   It drowns out other people’s loud conversations, and simultaneously is somewhat relaxing.  It also sounds pretty decent over a light veneer of baroque music.

Anyhow, one more tool to add to my toolkit.  Thanks Jake!

*Please see comment below.

3 thoughts on “Some slightly noisy peace and quiet.

  1. I do not really agree since I’ve always been used to quietness when working and I find being more efficient in a quiet environment. I guess it depends on each one’s personality. Moreover, there are collaborations in the lab ;-)

    • Hi Anthony,

      As they say, to each, their own. I often find quiet music to be a useful background sound when I’m working, but was surprised how well ambient background sounds worked instead. It’s pretty common in open plan environments for people to use headphones when they want to keep background sounds from interfering with their concentration, so there may be others out there who agree.

      Anyhow, I think I had better clarify on a linguistic issue: I did not suggest (or even imagine anyone might interpret) that the lab and it’s members don’t collaborate. Perhaps it wasn’t clear, but I intended to say that they don’t work in the collaborative-style, of which pair or extreme programming is the most obvious manifestation. A mode in which communication with other team members underpins the basis of many or even most decisions. One can still collaborate extensively, and yet not be constantly interacting with the people around them.

      At any rate, I have yet to see extensive group work in the lab – despite the plethora of collaborations. Everyone seems to do their own thing (effectively) without the constant need for interaction with others. Thus, the space is (most often) a very quiet environment. I hope that the distinction is clear! I have added a note that people should take note of this comment, which I hope they do if it is unclear to them.

      Anthony

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