Investigating the effect of indoor soundscaping towards employees’ mood and perception in open plan offices
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Over the past decade, soundscape studies have proposed ways to differentiate sonic environments and showed that it is not always the sound levels that matters. Meanings associated with sound sources, how they are perceived by the listener and the physical settings are equally important. On the other hand, very few studies are conducted to examine whether these principles of soundscape can be applied to indoor spaces. Aim of this research is to identify sound sources within an open office space, understand how employees’ perceive these sound sources, explore its impact on their mood and task performance. In order to achieve this goal, measurements and interviews are conducted at two different open planed offices. A user focused, subjective, approach of Grounded Theory, is used to capture the lived experience of an open plan office space and examine the effects of indoor soundscape quality towards employees’ perception of their work environment. PANAS (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule) test is conducted to explore employees’ mood. In order to understand the acoustical conditions of case study settings, in-situ measurements of sound levels (Leq), ODEON simulation of Speech Transmission Index (STI) and Reverberation Time (T 30) is used. Semi-structured interviews, as part of Grounded Theory, and PANAS test are conducted with 47 employees. Their responses are used to generate a conceptual framework which conceptualizes employees’ subjective response to the soundscape of their work environment. Generated conceptual framework showed patterns between employees' perception of sound sources, sound preference and type of work they are performing as well as the association between positive affect (PA), negative affect (NA) and soundscape.