Tug of War

Noise in fashion

This is a real story. It happened in a small but cozy open office. 10 IT professionals made their living there. The atmosphere was fun and friendly. It  looked like a one big, happy family. They went to lunch together, drank their coffees, hang out after work.

Just like in all other families, occasionally there would be a heated discussion. One topic that they passionately disagreed about noise. Half the group saw it as a problem and the other half didn’t. Noise it this case means regular half hour discussions, work and non-work related, people from other offices visiting, and even a short Battlefield 4 session!

It’s pretty much proven that office noise impairs task performance, see this, this or this study. So how come this group couldn’t agree about the office noise?

office space

One obvious explanation would be that we’re talking about a group of slackass, rest-and-vest, lazy sh*t bags. But that’s definitely not the case here, these people are smart, successful, accomplished professionals, who get their projects done.

Maybe there’s different types of personalities involved here. As Susan explained in her book Quiet: “Introverts prefer quiet, minimally stimulating environments, while extroverts need higher levels of stimulation to feel their best” (maybe she mixed up introverted and sensitive types in her book, but that’s for another discussion).

Is it possible that some people need to feel happy in order to be productive, while others need to be productive in order to feel happy?