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A Simulation Model of the Effect of Workplace Structure on Productivity

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Workplace productivity is a result of many factors, and among them is the setup of the office and its resultant noise level. The conversations and interruptions that come along with

Workplace productivity is a result of many factors, and among them is the setup of the office and its resultant noise level. The conversations and interruptions that come along with converting an office to an open plan can foster innovation and creativity, or they can be distracting and harm the performance of employees. Through simulation, the impact of different types of office noise was studied along with other changing conditions such as number of people in the office. When productivity per person, defined in terms of mood and focus, was measured, it was found that the effect of noise was positive in some scenarios and negative in others. In simulations where employees were performing very similar tasks, noise (and its correlates, such as number of employees), was beneficial. On the other hand, when employees were engaged in a variety of different types of tasks, noise had a negative overall effect. This indicates that workplaces that group their employees by common job functions may be more productive than workplaces where the problems and products that employees are working on are varied throughout the workspace.

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  • 2017-05