The many faces of office noise--case contact center

Heidi Rasila, Tuuli Jylhä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


– The purpose of this paper is to take a look at the phenomena of office noise and to try and outline the worker perceptions of noise in a multi-dimensional and holistic manner. This is done in a case study setting in contact center environment.

– The research was carried out in three phases. First, a review of existing research was carried out. Second, 28 interviews were carried out to outline the dimensions of office noise. Third, a set of 20 further interviews were carried out to study the dimensions of noise that appeared from the first phase of the research.

– The literature review introduces seven streams of office noise research. None of these looks at the office noise as a holistic and multi-dimensional experience of office workers. The results from the interviews suggest that office workers see the office noise to have negative, neutral and positive aspects. In call center context, the most important aspect of noise includes: psychological and physiological symptoms, dynamism, social setting, knowledge transfer, socialization and sound masking.

Research limitations/implications
– The data are limited to one specific kind of work setting, namely, contact center environment. Thus, the findings may not be generalized to cover other types of work. Even though the sample size of 48 interviewees is quite big for a qualitative research setting, the basic problem of the research orientation is still present. The results are intended to give an in-depth insight on dimensionality of office noise in the complex interrelated open-plan office system.

– Existing research on office noises and acoustics tends to see the office noises just as a negative phenomenon. This leads to research settings that neglect the positive aspects of the noise. Further, this leads to somewhat distorted discussion and practical recommendations
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)454-464
Number of pages11
Issue number7/8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • user studies
  • workplace
  • working conditions
  • noise

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