I worked in an open office (non-cubicle) floor plan once as a call-in Tech Support Rep for AOL. It was noisy, but we all had headsets on with noise cancelling microphones. This wasn’t a job where concentration really matter. We just followed on screen prompts and basically guessed at what may be wrong with someone’s issue. Well my current employer is moving to a new building with an open floor plan. I heard someone talking about concerns over potential noise levels in our new space. Thinking about this made me do a little research. They mentioned that there may be noise generators or other noise cancelling techniques employed, but I have my doubts on their effectiveness in an open space when sound sources are right next to you.
In my research, I also found it interesting that someone put a number, although subjective, on the effect of open floor plan noise to productivity.
I wonder how accurate any of this is?