Zenbooth Blog

Modern businesses are always looking for that little something extra. In a busy world defined by increasing competition and demanding markets, how you work as well as your office environment could be the ultimate X factor. 

Over the last few decades, we have seen dramatic changes in how people complete tasks, with the layout of office environments more reflective of deeper business structures.

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From isolated cubicles and corporate hierarchies to open workspaces and collaboration, the workplace revolution is just getting started.

Office Challenges Eliminated By Activity-Based Working Floor Plans

Open office design plans have taken off, with large tech firms like Google and Apple leading the way. In a concerted effort to engage workers and improve work outcomes, forward-thinking companies have thought outside the box and knocked down walls, sometimes literally.


Creating an efficient workspace that boosts morale and raises productivity is about more than just style and appearances. Many comfort factors affect how a workplace can impede or promote health, mood, and the overall success of employees. 

Simple changes can make a world of difference. But employers need to know how to identify the problems in their own office. 

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Here are seven common attributes of a poor work environment and easy ways you can fix them.

1.Loud Offices Should Be A Thing of the Past

Excessive noise one of the most unpopular obstructions to maximizing employee productivity. 

Studies have shown that 58 percent of high-performance employees say they need a quieter work environment, 54 percent find their workplace too distracting, and 25 to 30 percent are dissatisfied with the noise level at work.


The simple, hard truth about open offices is that they aren’t agile or versatile. Nor do they provide an adequate level of privacy to employees. 

As many as 54% of high-performance employees say that an open office environment is “too distracting” and hampers their productivity. 

How can you address these issues without undertaking major renovation or restructuring work within the office? The answer is — add breakout spaces. According to Tina Rich, designer at Homepolish, “It’s just about having spaces to accompany different kinds of people or sizes of groups and also different activities. […] This helps allow you to have a bit of alone time if you need it.” 

And your employees do need alone time every now and again. 

How Huddle Spaces Address Open Office Issues 



Open office spaces became very popular not too long ago, and many considered them to be an innovative solution for employee collaboration. This layout seemed like a great way to facilitate dialogue, lower costs, and maximize workspace. What’s not to love, right?

Well, it turns out that open offices aren’t as great as we once thought they were. Consider some of their disadvantages:

  • Increased expense in the long term
  • Highly distracting, making it harder to focus
  • Little to no privacy
  • Increased rates of sickness and absenteeism in employees
  • Increased stress in the work environment

The result? Workers in an open office environment are not only less productive, they’re also unhappy. Open office spaces don't give employees the privacy they need to do their jobs efficiently, and that can wreak havoc on your business

If you’re realizing you need to change your floor plan to an agile workspace or activity based office, you may be wondering how to get the best results for a price that you can afford. 

Luckily, Zenbooth has been thinking about just that for a long time!


The open-plan office was once the dream for employers looking to introduce flexibility and collaboration to the workplace. Unfortunately, as with many dreams, the reality didn't quite match up to the vision.

Open-plan offices were just too noisy and too distracting. They were too fraught with interruptions. Research from the Humboldt University in Berlin found that it could take as long as 23 minutes for workers to restore their focus after such an interruption, dramatically impacting productivity. 

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Health and well-being also suffered, with workers in open-plan offices found to be taking 62 percent more sick days than their counterparts in standard offices.

But, despite these setbacks, collaboration is still a key factor for businesses. Communication and a strong ethic of teamwork are still things all businesses target.

This is why the Zenbooth team has spent time developing pieces of modern collaborative workspace furniture and infrastructure. We're able to achieve these aims while avoiding the pitfalls of the open-plan model.

So let's get into it. Here are seven key benefits of deploying collaborative furniture in your own workplace.



Open office setups look cool and modern, but they do not bolster productivity. According to research carried out by the University of Sydney, most employees working find open offices expose them to too much co-worker chatter, small talk, constant noise, etc.

Though open offices have their minor perks, the noise and distractions can hinder productivity, and burn out even the most sociable or extroverted employees.

Focusing on important tasks in the office requires a calm and private space. A private booth offers just that. These booths insulate employees from casual banter, lunch invites, quick questions, etc. so that they can spend more time working. Keep reading to learn how office phone booths work and why every office should have them.

What is an Office Phone Booth? And How Does It Work?


There are several reasons to opt for an open office layout. It allows for better communication, more flexibility, and an overall more attractive aesthetic. The primary reason not to go for an open office layout? The lack of privacy. 

Workers in open offices across the country are suffering from the distractions, the disruptions, and the lack of confidentiality that come with taking down the walls and partitions in the workspace. 

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The good news is that you don't have to choose between privacy and flexibility.

Open Office Conference Rooms


In the quest for greater productivity, companies are adopting breakout spaces and privacy booths in their existing open office layouts. The idea is to satisfy employees’ needs for quiet, support effective collaboration and improve work performance. 

As senior workplace consultant Emma Mitchell rightly points out, “Today’s workplace is more open than ever.” The lack of barriers in modern office design can lead to an employee's right to solitude being overlooked. 

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Not to mention that open floor plans are filled with noise and distractions, affecting employee concentration, anxiety and engagement with their work.

Add Private Enclaves to Your Office 

Enclaves are short-term retreat spaces that can give workers a change of pace and posture, which in turn can stimulate new ideas and generate more conversations in the office. 


Change. It’s something that most people readily admit they don’t like. Yet ambitious managers and business owners are driven to look for “new and improved” ways to accomplish more with less.

This is one of the reasons so many businesses turned to open office layouts. They wanted to change the ideal feel of the modern office into something less “stuffy” and transform it into an open environment.

The hope was that employees could share ideas and brainstorm solutions without being incumbered by walls or feeling siloed.

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For many businesses, the reality of open offices turned out to be much less effective than they had planned. 

The setting facilitated noise and distraction that interfered with everyone’s ability to concentrate. In most office environments, employees work in smaller groups, not a large one.


Nowadays, employers are recognizing that the traditional open-plan or “agile” office – seen as revolutionary 20 or so years ago – is not all it was first thought to be.

Still the favored office design up and down the country, it’s a familiar site when we tune in to news channels and see the frantic atmosphere of an open-plan newsroom. In fact a whole 70 percent of U.S. offices are open office layouts.

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While the initial concept behind the open plan was to inspire a sense of belonging and enable co-operation between workers, this hasn’t proven to be the case. Increasingly employers are finding that the design is hampering rather than boosting productivity, and employees are reporting on the drawbacks of this setup.

Of note is the absence of collaborative workspace furniture.


Open offices — whereby employees are seated in an open floor setting with no barriers to separate them from their colleagues — have been extensively studied in the last decade. 

Because of their inherent openness, there is a seemingly intuitive logic that is continuing to damage employees’ ability to work and their long-term health. 

The assumption was that open offices were ideally suited to promote an active exchange of ideas. 

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What many companies don’t realize is that, because of this openness and lack of barriers, open offices don't offer privacy and hamper productivity. Filled with noises and distractions, they take away from employees the ability to concentrate on their tasks and do their work effectively. 

Research indicates that employees lose an average of 86 minutes a day due to distractions in the office, and they take 23 minutes on average to return to their tasks. 


Workers in virtually all industries have experienced the pros and cons of open office layouts. This type of work environment surged in popularity over the last few decades, but businesses are realizing they need a change. 

Here’s a look at why open offices are so prevalent today, why workers struggle with them, and how you can fix issues like lack of confidentiality by using meeting pods. 

The Upside of Open Office Floor Plans 

Open office layouts sit at the nexus of business efficiency, modern design, and budgetary concerns. 

The absence of walls and formal offices means employees can collaborate more easily. Managers can see what employees are doing at all times. 

In industries like technology, where creativity is king, letting employees brainstorm freely leads to innovation and therefore financial success. Interior design got in on the act by capitalizing on this trend, eliminating conventional furnishings. 

Sofas replaced desks, and break spaces merged with workspaces so employees could gab about projects over coffee or pinball. 


Over the past decade, open office layouts have been regarded by owners as excellent collaborative environments that foster transparency, creativity and innovation. 

They are considered a less stuffy alternative to the almighty cubicle — with fewer walls and doors separating employees, information flows more freely and cooperation abounds. 

At the same time, companies have also embraced the open office concept for a less utopian reason: affordability. 

Open layouts maximize existing space and minimize costs, both essential when you have dozens or even hundreds of employees to manage. 

The International Facility Management Association reports that over 70 percent of offices in the US use some sort of open office plan. 

Unfortunately, employees working in open offices aren’t embracing the trend. According to an article published in Fortune magazine, open office plans are, in fact, detrimental to productivity and employee well-being; furthermore, they increase the number of sick days employees take. 

In another study, nearly half of open-office workers surveyed were dissatisfied with sound privacy, and 40 percent disliked the lack of visual privacy. 


It’s no secret that one of the biggest trends driving the huddle room revolution is the open office floor plan. As more businesses opt for fewer stand-alone offices and more shared workspaces, the need for employee privacy is becoming evident. 

Today, the conferencing trend has shifted towards the creation of multiple huddle rooms — in fact, some research predicts that huddle rooms will replace almost 70 percent of all conference rooms by 2022. 

In this article we’ll discuss what huddle rooms are and how they can benefit your company.

What Are Huddle Rooms? 

You’re no doubt aware of football players’ habit to huddle-up to plan their next moves and take down the competition. That's where the term "huddle room" comes from. 


The ideal office promotes both privacy and communication. With today’s emphasis on workplace collaboration and teamwork, the open office concept can be alluring. But it needs the right open space furniture. 

Workstation design has evolved from the static cubicle to an assortment of movable and versatile furniture pieces. Employees can now organize meetings whenever they are needed, and can consult with coworkers who are just feet away.

This flexibility helps prevent the downside of the open office plan. Researchers have found that the constant accessibility can be distracting and tiring for employees. 

A Harvard University study of Fortune 500 companies found that the open office concept appeared to be backfiring. Face-to-face communication among employees had decreased by 73 percent and e-mail usage increased by 67 percent.


An open office layout encourages flexibility and tends to be more affordable. 

However, the downsides to having an open layout can have a profound effect on your team's efficiency and mood. The distractions, noise, and lack of privacy, in particular, can easily take away from the overall performance of the office.

These findings have been supported by reliable statistics time and time again. A public opinion survey conducted by YouGov found privacy to be a higher priority among employees than many assumed. 

Their survey revealed that, if it meant having access to a private work area, 13% of respondents would give up their end-of-year bonuses, 17% would give up access to a window, and probably the most condemning statistic of all, 27% would give up access to the office coffee machine. 


Many organizations have long held the belief that the open office space plays a key role in motivating employee collaboration, which in the process breeds new ideas and innovations.

For this reason, many workplaces have sacrificed employees’ privacy in a bid to boost productivity and lower operating costs. 

However, a recent Harvard study has put these claims to rest by proving that the open office design actually reduces employee collaboration, which in turn slows output. According to the study, face-to-face interactions between employees in an open office setting went down by about 70%.

The traditional workplace setting, where an employee slaves all day in a designated office workstation, is quickly giving way to more versatile and favorable arrangements. The modern employee wants flexibility and privacy above all else.


As the style of the American workplace changes, portable meeting pods take on more significance. Two common buzzwords for modern office design are 'open office' and 'activity-based workspace  (ABW).'

The second trend can be used to maximize the effectiveness of the first. That's because an open office lacks the flexibility necessary to complete all the steps in single a project. This is where a small or medium size portable meeting pod comes into play.

Privacy is non-existent, concentration suffers and it's hard to avoid noise and distractions in a large open workplace.


Collaboration, transparency and ease of sharing are indeed easier without walls that divide people. An activity-based plan includes a variety of settings suited to the tasks that people need to complete. Besides desks and computers, employees need spaces to rest, relax, concentrate and collaborate. 


Even though collaboration is a vital ingredient for productive brainstorming, quiet spaces are at a premium in today’s office. As productivity guru Barnaby Lashbrooke points out, “In sociable, bustling workspaces, the quiet corners are always in use.”

To boost productivity, modern office furniture ideas in 2020 and beyond should include both collaborative and peaceful work areas. Indeed, we concur with Lashbrooke’s view of the future.

Variety in office furnishings is a must for businesses that want to outpace their competitors.


The world of work is changing. Technology has made it possible – and necessary – to create workplaces which challenge the traditional office design and can adapt to the more diverse needs of today’s population. 

This is something all businesses will need to focus on if they want to remain relevant and desirable places to work, attracting top talent.

So, how do you create an office space fit for the future? We look at the trends and benefits of the flexible workplace and show you how to devise a working environment to meet the challenges of the 2020s and beyond.

What Is Flexible Workplace Design?

Work life has become more mobile as a result of the technology we all use on a daily basis. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops mean that there is no need for an employee to be tied to the same desk, all day, every day. This has led to a realization that there can be greater freedom in the ways office spaces are designed and utilized.


Office design is constantly evolving and as design trends come and go, so too do different styles of working in an office environment. The workplace has become more flexible – it’s no longer the case that employees are expected to sit at their desk or cubicle from 9 to 5.

While the open office and hot-desking first found popularity in the ‘90s, from the year 2000 and beyond, offices started to become more playful and fun to reflect the younger and more entrepreneurial workforce and the growing importance on work-life balance.

Almost two decades later, these concepts have become more refined, resulting in what has commonly become known as “Millennial” office design – taking its name from the Millennial generation born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials are predicted to make up 35% of the global workforce by 2020.

millenial office design

What Is Millennial Office Design?

To understand exactly what Millennial design looks like, it makes sense to first understand the characteristics and motivations of the Millennial generation.

This is the first generation to have grown up with the internet as a part of their lives from childhood – they’ve basically never known a world without mobile phones, being constantly online, and the ability to access information instantly at any time of the day or night.



Trends come and go in workplace design, and one idea that's taken hold in the last several years is the open office layout. Patterned after the traditional newsroom, it features workspaces without walls. 

Desks may be arranged around the edges of a room, placed into rows, or even set up in pairs that face each other. While there are advantages to this setup, it can be stressful for employees, leading to a lack of privacy and a breakdown of concentration.

Cubicles offer a semblance of privacy but, as anyone that’s worked in an office cubicle environment can attest, workers can still hear conversations going on around the room. 

One response to these issues is the emergence of mobile collaboration pods that block noise and visual distractions, allowing workers to concentrate on tasks. These phone booths and comfort booths allow employees to make private phone calls and take breaks from the fishbowl atmosphere of an open office environment. 


The way we get work done is changing fast, and therefore the office environment must change with it. To ensure maximum productivity and employee satisfaction in a world where today’s workforce will have five different jobs before the age of 35, company's need to get creative. 

Advertising for, interviewing, and training up new hires is expensive, so it makes sense to provide a workspace where employees will feel comfortable and free to work in a way that ensures high levels of workplace satisfaction. Soundproof office booths help to achieve this goal by lowering anxiety and offering people privacy. 

The Stress Problem Caused By Modern Offices

soundproof office phone booths



Office furniture pods are becoming increasingly popular among employers who are looking to create a more efficient and modern office environment. 

The satisfaction and productivity rates of so many American workers have become negatively affected by an inability to focus due to distractions. 

The easy incorporation of a Zenbooth product into your workspace will provide an immediate escape for employees to finish work quickly, conduct private phone calls and conversations, and host important guests with comfort and confidence. 

There are multiple unique features that put Zenbooth head and shoulders above any other office pods available on the market. 

Here are the five that may be the most directly beneficial to a workspace, its users and their overall efficiency rate.

High-Quality Ventilation System


Business owners strive to create quiet office environments that enhance productivity in their workforce. Unfortunately, this can be tricky, especially in modern open-plan offices.

So, how do you ensure your employees are comfortable at the office, while also safeguarding productivity? It's time to consider investing in open office phone booths.

Inside these individual work pods, employees and entrepreneurs can conduct private meetings, make phone calls and find a calm personal space. 

The Features and Benefits of Open Office Phone Booths

Zenbooths are designed to keep users cool by cycling fresh air into the enclosure once every minute. The booths come with cutting edge ventilation systems to enhance comfort. This system is motion activated so it starts running as soon as someone enters the booth.


Silicon Valley got it wrong – very wrong.

Countless studies, research papers, and surveys have now found that the trend of open offices is doing nothing but harming your employees’ productivity. 

Removing or shrinking partitions and implementing an open-door policy isn’t fostering collaboration – instead, it’s leaving your team members distracted, unfocused, and quite frankly, frustrated.

One of the most significant factors that contribute to lost productivity is noise. Without walls or dividers, staff working on individual projects have no choice but to listen to rowdy brainstorming sessions and enthusiastic sales calls.

The solution? Furniture like soundproof office pods.

Let’s examine the drawbacks of an open office space and explain just how beneficial the very best soundproof office pods can be.


It’s no secret that office phone booths are the latest trend in open-plan workplace design. And, chances are, if you are a business owner that’s always looking to boost productivity, you’re just about ready to jump on board.

Before you hit that oh-so-tempting checkout button, you’ll need to decide which size booth is right for your office.  

In this article, we’ll walk you through the top considerations to make when selecting an office phone booth for your workspace. Grab yourself a well-deserved coffee, a pen, and some paper – let’s get started.

Is an Office Phone or Meeting Booth Right for Your Business?


Imagine you’re an employee in a typical open office environment. You’re at a table or cubicle, which is barely separated from those around you by a very low wall. 

You have a presentation to prepare for a client meeting. As you pull up the data on your computer, the colleague next to you returns to his or her seat and fidgets noisily with their keyboard, pulling your attention from the task at hand. 

You drag your focus back to your data, but just as you get back in the groove of concentration, a cell phone buzzes on the other side of you. Even though your colleague is whispering, you can hear she’s having an argument with her spouse.

You finally get back to work again, when “Ping!” the elevator door opens and three people exit, talking loudly about the meeting they’ve just had. Such is the noisy life of an open office today, and it’s making employees sick and killing productivity. 


Nothing kills productivity like workplace stress. The reality is today’s open office environments are wearing out employees. From constant distractions to a lack of privacy, studies show that the open layout is causing as many problems as it was intended to solve.

One in eight open office workers say that their company's open layout has motivated them to want to leave their job. Even more foreboding for employers who have worked hard to cultivate a positive atmosphere, these same employees feel resentful toward senior staff with private offices.



Activity-based working (ABW) is rooted in the premise that, for employees to work efficiently, they need access to a variety of uniquely designed office areas. 

This means that people are not tied to a particular workstation or cubicle. Instead, different activity areas are available for conducting tasks such as focusing, collaborating, learning, consulting, and socializing.

Facilities commonly found in activity-based workplace designs include community tables or sectionals, breakout areas, meeting rooms, individual work pods or personal phone booths.