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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Acoustical quality in office workstations, as assessed by occupant surveys


We analyzed acoustic satisfaction in office environments in buildings surveyed by The Center For The Built Environment (CBE). A total of 23,450 respondents from 142 buildings were included in the analysis. Acoustic satisfaction in the CBE survey is a function of satisfaction with both noise and speech privacy. In the database people are significantly more dissatisfied with speech privacy than noise level (P < 0.01). Occupants in private offices are significantly more satisfied with the acoustics than occupants in cubicles (P<0.01). The results shows also that occupants in open office environments are significantly more satisfied with noise level and speech privacy than occupants working in cubicles (P<0.01). Among occupants dissatisfied with acoustics the most prevalent problems are: “People talking on the phone”, “People overhearing private conversations” and “People talking in surrounding offices”. Over 50% of cubicle occupants think acoustics interfere with their ability to get their job done.

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