This desk is mine! How noisy offices can make us more territorial

15 Sep 2023

Remi Ayoko writes for The Conversation |  Follow Remi on Twitter

From colleagues chatting about their weekends or having intense phone conversations, to email alerts and loud tapping on keyboards, the evidence that open-plan offices take a toll on our wellbeing continues to mount.

There’s a clear relationship between noise levels and physiological signs of stress such as heart rate.

noisy officeThis stress can also manifest in unconscious actions to reclaim control – and while some of these behaviours are therapeutic and benign, others are more toxic.

Our research shows that office noise increases the likelihood of people wanting to reclaim personal space through territorial behaviours. This might include creating a psychological and physical “border” around their workspace using potted plants, or seeking to mark space as theirs with photos and other personal items.

This means the amount of desk clutter in your open-plan office may be a sign of noise-induced stress.

More noise is also associated with negative feelings such as frustration and anger, as well as antisocial behaviours such as social withdrawal and (to a lesser extent) disagreement with colleagues.

Read the full article at The Conversation