When a Tree Falls

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception.

To answer this question it is important to understand what sound actually is.  Properly described from a scientific perspective, sound is the result of vibrations.  On this basis, it is obvious that vibrations will occur as the falling tree moves through the air, brushes other trees as it falls and ultimately hits the ground, and therefore the falling tree would have produced sound.

Perhaps most of us would have a more pragmatic approach:  “If there is no one there to hear it, does it matter?”

When it comes to our working environment, we cannot afford to be purely pragmatic. We spend a significant amount of our waking time in our workplace.  Sound in the workplace if no staff are around is irrelevant.  What concerns us is how sound is understood and handled when staff are in the workplace. 

There are established acceptable levels of sound for the workplace, which when exceeded require the use of hearing protection.  However in an office environment, this is not typically a relevant metric.  

What is more critical is to observe and understand the perceptions that inform our mindset; in other words to understand what is truly happening in our workspace.

In most cases, senior management loves to hear the hustle and bustle of a busy office, with phones ringing, printers working, staff talking and laughing.  Staff also find this stimulating as being busy typically means the company is winning in the marketplace.  But is this actually an unhealthy environment from a sound perspective, and therefore a negative pressure on staff wellness?  If wellness suffers, the focus of staff will gradually shift to less satisfaction, and sooner or later, other perceived deficiencies will become stumbling blocks to productive work.

At HARMONY, we believe we present solutions to issues relating to sound as well as to the overall atmosphere of the work environment.  The ability to provide sound mediation solutions while also refreshing the work environment with distinctive design enables a business to essentially re-invent its office atmosphere.