Exploratory Study of the Impact of Images and Sound on Knowledge Worker Need Satisfaction and Productivity

The goal of this study is to identify the ideal parameters for projected images and sound in order to maximize positive emotions and focus/concentration in knowledge workers.  Knowledge workers can perform their best work under conditions that support their basic human needs.  A great deal is known about how workplace design can support task accomplishment, employee health, and well-being.  However, common workplace designs such as open offices have produced conditions that undermine knowledge workers’ ability to do their best work.  The most serious conditions appear to be a loss of acoustic privacy and lack of natural elements (biophilia).  Noise levels in open spaces produce distractions that interfere with focus and concentration, and privacy concerns promote stress and discomfort which result in increased absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover.  A carefully designed workplace to minimize these effects of privacy issues is likely to result in positive working conditions which would facilitate positive emotions and promote knowledge worker productivity.  One environmental change that can be introduced in the workplace that has the potential for reversing privacy issues is the pairing of projected images of nature with compatible noise masking.  This project explores this environmental change and builds on the existing knowledge of workplace design and employee health, well-being, and productivity.