While we've all scrambled to try open-plan offices, we probably didn't anticipate there were going to be so many negative consequences. Nor did we realize that open work spaces would build stress in ourselves and our employees or coworkers. 

We also may have overlooked the value that comes from having a private conference room for phone calls and meetings. 

Now more than ever there’s a demand to bring conference rooms back into the work space. But how do you go about it without wasting considerable money and resources? There’s an alternative that you might not have considered. 

 

Why you need a conference room alternative to open-plan offices

Simply put, open-plan offices are harming your coworkers or employees.

Think it’s all just hot air? Think again. We've studied the pros and cons of open offices and the scientific research backs it up. Background noise causes increased stress levels in workers who use open-plan offices. Even if they did not report themselves as being stressed, those who were subjected to constant noise experienced a significant increase in stress hormones in their bloodstreams.

A sense of privacy is also important for helping employees feel more relaxed. Unfortunately, without walls or cubicles, employees actually end up feeling like they have no privacy. Imagine being watched and judged for everything you did, all day long. That pressure can really build up, whether it is real or imagined by a coworker or employee.

Not only that, but being in a noisy environment can seriously reduce productivity, something stress does as well. It’s hard to focus and listen in a noisy environment so phone calls and difficult projects end up not going as well as they should.

When it comes to calls, it can even make your company seem less professional. All of that noise in the background can be off-putting to callers, and video calls are even worse.

There’s more. Using an open office plan causes a 50% increase in employees taking time off work because of illness. That’s right – just by having an open-plan office, you are losing twice as many days to sickness as you should be. The spread of germs is easy without walls and the added stress certainly doesn’t help the immune system.

With all of this going on, don’t be surprised if your employees report low job satisfaction. They might end up leaving the company and going to work for others where they can get better treatment. Especially if you have to spend time and resources to train each new employee, or if your staff bring a lot to the table, you don’t want that to happen.

But there are plenty of benefits to having an open-plan office, too. Collaboration is easier and the office dynamic can be more alluring. So, without breaking down these benefits, how can you balance out those downsides?

 

 

How conference room alternatives help

The idea is to put back in a space which would traditionally have been the meeting room. But now that no one has an office, it’s hard to build back in and costly. 

The good news is that you don’t have to. A portable soundproof booth is an easy solution which doesn’t require permanent changes to your building.

You don’t need to adjust the whole room back into individual offices – in fact, it’s better if you don’t. Having an office pod instead makes a whole world of difference. Here’s how.

First, employees can go into the booth whenever they need to make a phone or video call, or focus on something difficult. They will be isolated from noise up to 40 decibels while inside, keeping background noise to a minimum. This will instantly ease stress and increase concentration levels, as well as giving callers that professional impression.

Next, your employees will feel that they have much more privacy. This is a place where they can go to have secret meetings, take confidential phone calls, and do whatever they like. They won’t be judged and no one will be listening in. There's a ton of pressure having others hearing your phone call – but that will no longer be an issue.

If your employees happen to be sick, you can prevent the spreading of germs by asking those who are contagious to use the booth. Rather than having everyone go down with the same bout of flu, you can isolate the problem even when you have a team member who is determined to get the job done when not feeling so great. Of course, with less stress overall, your employees will be less likely to get sick in the first place.

Finally, something magical happens. Simply because they have the option to go and use this private, noise-free booth whenever they want, your employees will see stress and anxiety levels going down. They won’t be sick as often and their productivity levels will rise. Even if they never actually use the booth, it will make a positive difference knowing they have the option.

This offers an important set of workplace advantages, which add up to hugely improve your office efficiency. You have the best of both worlds: collaboration with privacy, free movement with noise reduction, and a happy workforce. 

meeting room alternative

Choose a Zenbooth Meeting Pod As Your Conference Room Alternative

So, why go for a Zenbooth in particular? Well, there are a number of advantages connected to the particular booths that we supply. 

First of all, they'll save you a lot of space and a lot of money, since they are compact and well put-together. You can move our mobile booths whenever you like with only a little bit of work, and they pop back perfectly into place. 

Putting together your own booth with the same level of noise reduction and insulation would be very costly. Our booths come with everything you need – including desks, USB ports, and electrical outlets. They are made with the finest quality materials at a significant savings to yourself, including denim insulation to block noise and safe plexiglass ceilings.

You can choose a booth that fits your needs, from a phone booth designed for one of your employees up to a larger booth where meetings between 2 people can be held. This will be fantastic for visitors, who will be impressed at the isolation and the professional quality of the booth.

All of the advantages we have discussed above are embodied fully by our booths. They are comfortable, fully private and soundproof, allowing your employees to have that security they need.

To learn more about our product, check out our Instagram gallery here​. You can also reach us at 510-646-8368.

November 10, 2017 by Cort Tafoya

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