Do you Prefer a noisy office?


Do you Prefer a noisy office? or so quiet you can hear a mouse fart?

Apr 10, 17 1:59 pm

What does a mouse fart sound like?

It's a squeaker.

Apr 10, 17 2:01 pm

Because I'm 34 going on 13.


Quiet... because the harder I type and click I'm indicating to the office that I'm doing very important work.

Apr 10, 17 2:24 pm

both...I think offices need phone booths so you can make a call in silence and not have to project what you are saying to everybody you are surrounded by.

Apr 10, 17 2:27 pm

the older I get, the quieter I like it.

Apr 10, 17 4:17 pm

Quiet. But music is ok most of the time. But really depends on what I'm doing. 

Apr 10, 17 4:30 pm

the offices I work in are very noisy and chaotic - I need to come in on the weekends to get anything done

Apr 10, 17 4:59 pm

Quiet. I can't stand the typical office banter, slamming of cabinet doors, hearing co-workers on the phone, the keyboard pounders, and the guy who randomly lets you know what day it is.."It's Monday".."Not bad for a Monday"

Apr 10, 17 5:16 pm

While my response won't exactly fit into a conventional office environment as an employee working for a firm perspective but I would just speak for myself and my 'studio / office' environment. 

When I am working on a projects, I like to listen to music and such. However, if I was working in an environment with others, I would say that I would want to make sure the environment is generally acceptable environment. I prefer an environment with some level of noise because if it is too quiet then it is just too ugh.... you get it. In my experience, it is actually fun and enjoyable work environment to have people with like interests in the work to be working on project together in a conducive environment. If the environment is too dead pan quiet.... it is not very workable. 

I think there is a balance. I wouldn't want to be listening to a bunch of screaming or a bunch of non-sense in an out-loud situation. I wouldn't mind a person listening to music while working. It wouldn't be appropriate for me yelling for someone across the room anyway so going to the person would be appropriate in my opinion. There are always ways to get things done and work. Why should I be a total asshole to people saying they can't wear headphones and listening to music while working on a project if I would be doing the same thing. 

At the same time, there is a time for listening to music and there is a time for not when working in groups. I would expect people to be mature and professional so there shouldn't be a need for babysitting to get someone to get stuff done or working in team.

However, I do not have a group of employees and business partners.

I agree that a general office rule is that there should be general courteous, considerate, and respectful behavior maintained. As for office banter, I guess that depends on the 'banter'. If you have an office with other people, there has to be some consideration of working with others. I am less concerned with keyboard typing. That really doesn't bother me. As for co-workers on the phone, I am less concern about that if they aren't just standing over you but in fact stand some distance away to lower the voice level. I think in general, people shouldn't be yelling or talking out loud over their cell phone or phone. If you can't talk on the phone with a soft, mellow voice level on the phone, step into another room to talk and get a new phone that has a mic that works worth a f---. 

I personally would think Kevin Wagner's office is just too stifling and quiet that it would discourage working in group with a normal voice level and too much like a library that you can only talk to each other by whispering.

Apr 10, 17 5:57 pm

The only sound that bothers me is a leaf blower.

Apr 10, 17 8:59 pm

That does for sure.

It's an interesting question as you cannot always choose what people will do. A good balance of staff would help particularly by not emphasizing the "extrovert ideal." 

Someone external or internal that periodically evaluates an office would help with this issue of culture.

Oh! and I like a quietly noisy office. 

Apr 11, 17 12:31 pm

I would probably prefer a quieter office, but I get plenty done in my noisy office. If I really need it quiet, I'll find a conference room, or work from home. 

I do enjoy being able to hear what more experienced people around me are talking about on phone calls, etc. I've learned a lot by eavesdropping. It kills me to see recent graduates with headphones on tuning all that out. 

Apr 11, 17 12:36 pm

In the first office I worked in, the interns were kept isolated from the architects and I think it really hurt to not be able to eavesdrop or even participate, we had to sit and pound keys. Then I worked in a more open office and was one of the people having to make phone calls that were sometimes difficult and had to do it over office mate's music, although I got to hear what more senior staff were doing then, we all had to do phone conversations over music and we all hated it. The senior staff who had to both produce and manage often came in mornings, nights, and weekends for the quiet on top of their regular hours which made for lots of tension.


In the smaller offices I've worked for, we've always had music playing... either radio or a shared Spotify playlist. Currently working in a larger office and I use headphones for music most of the day. 

I prefer the communal background music. Headphones are isolating, which is good when I need to focus but I don't always like being isolated.

Apr 11, 17 12:40 pm

Agree. I would say that for the same basic reason, I listen to music myself. However, in an office setting, a set of headphones may be the preferred option considering varied interests in music by the different people. While, as for myself, I would either wear headphones (especially if I am in the same room as others) or listen to music on speakers if I am alone and not have others in the same room (with some general degree of isolation) .


How do offices that play music handle it when people have to make phone calls? I absolutely can;t listen to music while talking on the phone. 

Apr 11, 17 1:30 pm

We usually just ask the person to turn it down a bit, or the person takes the call on their cell out of studio / transfers the landline to a conference room.


Your phone must not ring a whole lot.

If you're able to pay attention to the music, you aren't working hard enough. 

The offices I've worked at that have had music playing for the office have had it set to a level where it was basically glorified white noise. After a while I'd just forget that it was there. I don't think it would be picked up very well over the phone, but I was never on the receiving end of those calls so I couldn't be sure. My current office is loud enough with adjacent conversations that are probably picked up over the phone more than the music ever was.

Apr 11, 17 4:34 pm

So let me see if I understand, if I'm on the phone while the person next to me in the open office is playing music and I find it difficult to hear my phone conversation, it is because I'm not working hard enough? Got it. I'll be sure to try harder. Thanks!


Agreed. EI, your statement is a bit too one-size-fits-all. I listen to music and can concentrate if it's MY music, but music overhead I do not like drives me crazy. My close friend can't listen to ANY music but can get tons of work done while listening to podcasts, which distract the heck out of me.

Sorry, my sarcasm didn't come through on the first sentence. I didn't ever intend for it be taken literally.


That changes everything. :D


Oh sarcasm. Thank you.

Anyone listening to personal music over speakers in an open office is asking for trouble.


"The offices I've worked at that have had music playing for the office have had it set to a level where it was basically glorified white noise." Ditto. I still prefer it to headphones.


We prided ourselves on being hip! Music was loud...

Non Sequitur
We have a no headphones during regular office hour policy. Works for me but I know plenty who hate it. We have an open setting and the goal is for everyone to be included in whatever activities are going on at the next desk. Not sure how many interns take advantage of that free learning op, but I surely did back then.

After hours is a d deferent story as I am often the only one there. In that case, the subwoofer I use as a foot stool comes in handy.
Apr 11, 17 5:24 pm

First year and a half or so when I was doing pretty much all production, I could use headphones. Now that I'm in a PA/sometimes PM role, I get too many calls/people stopping by to really wear them.

Plus I have a hearing aid that connects to my phone and streams Spotify. So technically no one has any clue if I'm actually listening to them or listening to music.


quiet offices concern me, especialy ones where people IM or email someone who is in the same office. 1) how much work can you really be doing if the phone doesn't ring all day? 2) how hard is it to say hello to someone and communicate the tasks at hand. I never asked my bosses if I could ask them a question and those same bosses did well. Just went right up to them and said - what the hell did you mean with that redline! I expect same on my end as the boss now. its concerning if some employee sits there for 40 hours and not once makes a peep. they are either geniuses or are doing like 30 hours of incorrect work.........3)music is impossible if on phone all day but no problem if you are not, just put headphones on

Apr 11, 17 6:43 pm
Non Sequitur

That point about staff never talking hits home for me at the moment. I've been dragged (screaming) into a sinking project because the bosses were convinced a junior on another floor knew revit and let him, for weeks, work away without much supervision. That staff promptly left and now I have to pull myself away from my projects to piece apart what this amateur called a "finished" model. eugh... would it have killed him/her to ask instead of just making shit up in revit?


My first job out of college, I was not allowed to ask questions to the architects, only other interns. You didn't have to curtsy or anything though, but um, yeah, I thought about it and thought about asking permission to speak too.


non that sucks man. one of my first jobs I even think the boss would ask me if i had questiom because prior there was some kid who just ran with it and then the day the boss had to present it was pretty much WTF? tintt that sucks - asking other interna is like asking if anyone has solved the mystery of the bosses thinking.


thinking back to early employments. very few architects i remember could field calls, manage the business, put out fires and then calmly explain a detail or thinking to an intern that made sense and without sighing as if the intern should already know everything. i think my kids are training me on that skill.


on asking questions - the only job i pretty much was fired/asked to leave, I think I annoyed the hell out of the boss and then i would call him out when stuff did not make sense. the office only had like 3 jobs at the time so I don't understand why he couldnt keep his thinking straight. later bosses, including myself work on like 20-30 projects at a time and not keeping your thinking straight then i imagine is acceptable. staying sharp with that many projects is can one learn if one can not ask questions?


It's called paying dues! Figured enough of it out over time. One of the other interns taught me everything. She probably knew more and could keep more straight than those guys with 20 years of experience who still couldn't draw a wall section so it was good that at least she let me bug her with q's. Together we did a project that had 0 RFIs and only 1 real small problem during construction. So maybe figuring it out ourselves was good cause we worked our asses off...


And there was 1 architect there who didn't honor the don't talk policy and he let me ask q's too.


I agree staff with limited experience should be asking questions &/or making list of questions to ask, but many times I hate taking the time to answer questions for people who are just being what I call "lazy Brain"! get up, get the code book, ansi, spec book, job data, or whatever and start there first before asking something simple like how much parking do we need? or whats the setback on the corner in limited commercial?


where I work, the interns pretty much call the shots - they are more knowledgeable and don't have a problem second guessing some intermediate - its also very chaotic here - we work late and on weekends - we just bust stuff out

Apr 12, 17 12:13 pm

Sounds like where some co-workers used to work at in silicon valley.


Quiet for sure!

Apr 12, 17 12:23 pm

Sometimes I help out at my husband's office and yesterday was one such day. I took a phone call from a new client and the engineering office upstairs started playing really loud music for their daily energizer. A fine example of why I think people who play loud music in offices are narcissistic terds. But what I really think is that I don't believe in offices anymore. 

Apr 13, 17 11:33 am
Non Sequitur

daily energizer?


Pep rally, social time, team building, bonding... I don't know but they listen to loud music and play games. At least they aren't bowling.


I'm working at the park today while my kid plays. Out of the box is much nicer.


what happens when the wind blows?


My pinwheel twirls.


Some arch firms are like video game companies in SF or silicon valley

Apr 13, 17 4:57 pm

Some arch firms are like frat houses... drinking, porn, hazing rituals...


I once worked at a place that had a small 500s.f. lower level area that had a bar, pool table, and large screen tv., but unfortunately most of the female staff never participated and there was no porn either, bummer :( , but those crimson cork flooring samples really turned things up!,


I would have been down there. No porn though, that's where I draw the line.

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