The secret to boosting workplace productivity and employee well being isn’t always an incentive program. It’s not always having the trendiest employee gifts in your industry or setting up mindfulness Mondays and Pilates on Fridays.
A major key is offering a quiet pod where your employees can think, focus, and get work done without distraction. Having quiet pods in the office creates a haven for your workers to retreat to when they need peace and want to drown out office noise.
Today, more than ever, with so many businesses using an open plan workspace, giving your employees a place to step away from the distractions and the overwhelming collaborative environment in order to be alone is a simple yet effective way to empower them to do their job.
At the same time, it signals to them that their peace of mind matters to their employer – letting them know the company they work for cares about their health and happiness.
Quiet Pods Solve The Office Distraction Dilemma
Without uninterrupted periods of work, accomplishing challenging tasks is next to impossible. Over half of high-performance employees believe their workplace is too distracting. Noise and peripheral movement have the ability to draw away attention, forcing employees to continually have to work towards regaining focus.
For too many years, the benefits of agile office design have been ignored. Instead, workplaces have been built on principles that do not support good employee productivity, happiness, or business success.
A floor full of identical, separated cubicles are a waste of space, discourage collaboration and a feeling of team camaraderie. They also contribute to employee burnout and low productivity overall.
In response to this negative trend, companies that were looking to shake things up turned to open office floor plans. Rather than cubicles, they had desks in rows where everyone could work and see their team members. In theory, this was an improvement, but in reality, it brought a host of difficulties.
Factors like loud spaces, no space for small meetings, no ability to step out and quickly recharge before returning to work, and no way to participate in conference calls or other telecommunication without disturbing the entire office lead to many of the same problems we see with rigidly designed cubicle spaces. Absenteeism, low productivity, and burnout can all plague open floor plan offices.
The open office concept exploded in popularity over the past thirty years. What started as a mainstay of a few industries, notably journalism, grew into a fad embraced by the tech industry. According to the dominant theory, young people loved open office concepts because it fostered creativity and innovation.
Few took time to study whether or not this held water before adopting the concept themselves, mainly because it meant much lower construction costs.
Now four out of five offices in the United States have some form of the open office concept. Unfortunately, studies show that in many cases open offices fail to deliver on the promised expansion of creativity and innovation. They even, in many cases, bring higher costs.
A solution does exist in the form of portable, cost effective, and sturdy indoor phone pods that provide sanctuary for staff. Here are seven great benefits that come from embracing the office pod as an important addition to the open office concept.
When the majority of workers in the U.S. say they feel distracted, they're quick to blame technology. In fact, according to the "Udemy in depth: 2018 Workplace Distraction Report", 69% of workers "struggle" to cope with interruptions at work.
But could the problem be more nuanced than that and can designated office quiet zones be the solution? It's not that workers are distracted by technology so much as they're using technology as a means to distract themselves from bigger priorities.
Work productivity in the age of the open office space.
Udemy's survey finds that the main reasons for employee distraction include: "chatty coworkers (80%), office noise (70%)," as well as disruptions through "small talk and office gossip."
In other words, productivity is being fractured in open office workspace designs.
Trendy does not always translate into top results. One egregious modern example lies in the “bullpen” style open office concepts that swept American workspaces two decades ago. Buoyed by the seemingly advanced techniques of technology companies in California and elsewhere, many businesses convinced themselves that open office represented a future thinking and progressive organizational style.
It did not hurt that open office plans cost less money to construct and maintain.
Some advocates insist that open office provides the best possible space for collective effort and that young workers prefer it. Others argue that the open office style blocks concentration, reduces productivity, and even harms workers’ mental and physical health.
Visual Distractions Hurt Concentration . . .
Nearly three out of every four American offices have low or no partitions separating employee work areas. Almost one-third rate visual distractions as a real problem that interferes with productive work.
If you've ever worked a desk job, you're well aware that after a week of staring at your computer, you can't wait for the excitement of a fun weekend.
Though you may love the work you do, are you always comfortable, energized, and feeling creative? Chances are you answered no to at least two of those questions.
We're all humans, and as much as we'd like to feel all of those things 100 percent of the time, it would be pretty difficult to do so. Being in the same environment and doing the same work day after day sometimes takes away from our productivity, creativity, and overall happiness.
When we see the same desk to our left, and the same coffee pot to our right, things tend to get boring and bland. Without the opportunity to have a new, fresh environment, you could lack inspiration.
That's where agile office layout principles come in. Let's examine some of the themes of agile offices, the benefits you'll see when you adopt the idea, and even some agile workspace design ideas.
About agile workspaces
The agile workspace is a simple solution to a noisy, uninspiring, or distracting, workplace. It provides options as far as where in the office you choose to work, and gives you the chance to have that group meeting without distracting your neighbor.
The working world has changed and the offices of days gone by simply don't cut it anymore. The newly conceived agile workspace has transformed the modern office beyond recognition. And the truth is, it had to happen. Offices have evolved over the last few decades and we simply don't work the same way anymore.
The typing pools and compact cubicle hell of the 1970s are soon to be fully replaced by agile workspace furniture and design principles.
It's now also time for the negatives of the open plan office to bite the dust too.
Where Did the Open Plan Office Go Wrong?
Open-plan has actually been with us since the 1950s, but it became the norm in the last two decades. It even got to the vaguely ridiculous point where managers were removing their doors with screwdrivers to show just how approachable they were after reading one too many leadership books.
Tech giants championed the open plan office and even Google went that route together with 70% of the country. Facebook took the extravagant and slightly farcical step of employing renowned architect Frank Gehry to design the largest open-plan office in the world at that point with room for 3000 engineers.
It's not just the nature of work that has changed. In today's global, increasingly digital-first economy, the needs of workers have also shifted.
Productivity is no longer about punching a time card or clocking in and out. It's about how powerfully, efficiently and effectively workers can use their 9 to 5 hours. In other words, working smarter, not necessarily harder.
Part of working smarter means working in an environment that supports the format of the work being done and the stage of the project the work is at.
The rise in co-working spaces doesn't only parallel the rise in remote workers and the changing nature of working hours. It also tells us that there is a preference for larger companies to rely on smaller, leaner teams, and groups who can demonstrate a deep expertise, working on a project-to-project basis.
Running a tight but steadily moving ship like this, then, requires an office that will be as responsive as the principles these cohorts are built on.
A productive workspace is not only a flexible one or a balanced one, with ample room for various sizes and functions. It's also an "agile" one: A workplace design that mimics the inquiry, creativity, testing, development, and design stages that are at the core of the work itself.
So how do you put innovative development principles meant for software to work in a physical space? Simple: by creating agile workspaces.
The Office Feel of Agile Workspaces
Zenbooth is celebrating NeoCon’s 50th anniversary in showcasing the best of commercial design by featuring the affordable and highly functional Executive Booth. The Executive Booth represents Zenbooth's answer to the modern office's most important dilemma: how to create private work spaces that combine quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
The Executive Booth brings privacy, peace and productivity to the open office floor plan environment at a fraction of the cost of a traditional office build out. The Executive Booth delivers added versatility to any office environment as it is created to slide, shift and fit within the growing and ever changing open office floor plan. Users can hold face to face meetings, take phone calls and conduct remote conferences within the comfortable and private atmosphere of the Executive Booth.
For 50 years, NeoCon has provided a stage for the best of the best in commercial office design. Zenbooth proudly joins the distinguished tradition as an exhibitor and will display products, such as the beautifully designed and affordably priced Comfort Booth. The Comfort Booth is an open office floor plan solution and creates space for office workers to concentrate, conduct business phone calls, and escape common distractions.
The Comfort Booth provides an easy and inexpensive way for fast growing companies to give employees the privacy and noise resistant spaces that they need. Its style beautifully fits the modern office aesthetic and is designed with the customer’s peace and productivity in mind.