2016-02-21

Silence of the lambs - How to prepare for an open office with technology

While preparing for office relocation it occurred to me that working in an open office would be quite different from my current working environment. Last years I've been working in semi-silent shared room for four persons, with ability to close the door if the person next door was having a marathon conference call on a speaker phone.

In the new open office there are no doors to close, so alternative solutions needed to be found.

The new office will have a fitted carpet which should reduce unnecessary sounds, but wouldn't eliminate the typical human habit of speaking or yelling too loudly across the room.

My initial plan is to not install any speakerphones on the desks. People would need to take the calls on their mobiles which hopefully will reduce the length of the calls. Alternatively headsets should be used when attending conference calls. For larger groups attending conference calls there are meeting rooms available, reducing the noise in the open office.

Finally there's the solution provided by powerful but yet small sized computer: noise-cancelling headset.

Several of my colleagues around the world recommended purchasing Bose QuietComfort 25 headset with noise-cancelling functionality. After trying them for couple of hours I wished the company would allow me to expense them because they are good. 

They are so good that despite the hefty ~290€ retail price in Finland, I ended up paying them from my own pocket as the noise-cancelling feature is very useful when flying.

I do travel a lot between Europe and Asia, enjoying good sound or lack of any sound is probably the best thing one can hope for from a long 10-hour flight.

QC25 comes with a handy hard case which protects the headset from damages during travels. Included in the retail case is also an airplane adapter needed on some older planes.

The headset had two models for sale, depending on if you wanted a remote for iPhone and Android phone. The remote with a microphone is attached on the headset's cable.

I'll update the review later after using the headset for some time, but the initial impression is very good.

The headset sits tight but not too tight on my head, and the sound quality is OK. Due to the noise-cancelling technology there is little noise to be heard if you don't play any music, but I assume it can't be heard if the background is more noisy than my living room during a night.

Some reviewers have experienced malfunction of one of the speakers after one year, I hope my unit isn't one of those "Monday" pieces.