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Zenbooth Blog

Office design is achieving new heights, from coworking spaces to office pods. Now, the concept of the "agile office" is all the buzz - a flexible and productive work environment with different activity spaces. 

But how exactly is it conducive to better staff productivity & happiness? Here's a look at why building agile offices is essential for your employees.

Physical Freedom

Physical freedom is the most important principle of an agile workspace. No longer are employees confined to sitting for hours to work at desks or in front of computers, experiencing physical strain, fatigue and boredom. 

The open office is the foundation that allows for standing, walking or sitting while still having desks and computers available for employees when they need them.

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If you manage or own a business that uses an open office layout, you may be wondering "What's the best furniture for our work environment?" 

Perhaps you’ve recently relocated the office or want a bit of an upgrade.

Here are some tips to help you find the best furniture for open offices, both for collaborative functions and for privacy and noise reduction.

Office Furniture for Employee Collaboration

The main reason most businesses use open office formats is that they hope it will improve employee collaboration and make work easier. In some instances, this works, but there are downsides.

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Believe it or not, the open office was in vogue before cubicles. With it came the constant noise and lack of privacy that results from having no barriers or partitions. 

Cubicles were the remedy to the open office, but with their own drawbacks: a lack of sunlight and the drabness of grey cubicle walls became associated with communication problems between employees that would lead to unstable businesses. 

Open offices made a comeback two decades ago for startups who wanted to participate in the new business model, with some company CEOs not even having private offices. It was an attempt to bring employees together for collaboration and offered a modern design with an affordable upfront cost. 

The popular belief was that the chaos would be positive and promote creativity. But new does not necessarily mean effective. Research has found that employees in such spaces experience negative effects on their well-being and productivity. 

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Office furniture has evolved tremendously over the last couple of decades, advancing in technology & catering more to workers than ever before. 

Here are seven of the best modern office furniture ideas, many of which you may be able to put to use at your company. 

Standing Desks

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking.” Maybe sitting isn’t quite as bad as a nicotine habit, but we know it’s not healthy for workers hour after hour without a break.

Standing desks allow employees to get a rest from sitting by working on their feet, which stretches muscles and changes circulation. Standing desks should be adjustable to accommodate workers of all heights equally without ergonomic issues.

When transitioning staff to standing desks, do it gradually so people who are used to sitting don’t get sore. Use comfort mats underneath their feet, and make standing desks optional rather than mandatory. Some people may still prefer to sit.

Partner Desks

Partner desks have been around since the 19th Century, similar to rolling office chairs, and were long favored by architects and draftsmen who shared work and ideas throughout the day. Now they are popular with branding and writing teams, as well as other

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If your office is like four out of five others across the United States, you have likely embraced the open office concept in some form. Since the 1960s, employers have increasingly turned away from cubicles and toward open spaces. 

In theory, fewer walls means more communication, innovation, and productivity. In reality, employers have found that workers need privacy to stay focused and even to maintain their own peace of mind.

Luckily, businesses and other offices can find a compromise between a costly remodel and continuing with an open office concept. Privacy booths can help to create quiet spaces that allow workers concentrate and work more productively.

Why Your Staff Needs Privacy Booths 

Nearly two-thirds of high-performance office workers say they need more quiet at work. Studies show that the amount of noise pollution and visual distractions in the office environment impact how well they are able to complete important tasks. 

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When it comes to workspace design and long term productivity, it’s a fact – the open plan office concept has failed. There are benefits of course. If there weren’t, the idea wouldn’t have become a trend that saw around 70 percent of offices in the USA having low or no partitions by 2017. 

The most attractive benefit is the fact that it is affordable. It means zero walls, and often not even individual desks, so of course, it would be less costly. 

The other big draw is that collaboration, and therefore innovation, is supposedly a natural side effect of being in the same space together all the time.

But a new Harvard study published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B journal showed that all that forced interaction caused people to withdraw from each other and instead communicate over email. 

It also apparently resulted in a significant drop in productivity.

Introducing huddle rooms

Considering that people tend to avoid each other in the open plan office environment, meetings have become one of the most important interactions in the workplace. Thus, so many companies responded by building conference rooms. 

One large meeting space equipped with all the latest equipment and technology designed to impress everyone who steps into your office space. But these can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

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Having you been hearing a lot about huddle rooms lately? Here’s a quick intro course on what the huddle room is all about, why they are beneficial, and how you can create one for your office.

What Is a Huddle Room?

A huddle room takes its name from sports terminology, where athletes come together in a tight bunch to plan their strategy on the field or the court. Likewise, huddle rooms in the workplace are an alternative to giant conference rooms, meant to get a small group of employees together to huddle over work ideas.

In most offices, huddle rooms are used for both scheduled and impromptu meetings. They can be signed out for team planning sessions or put to use on the spur of the moment when a few employees need to address a new concern or check in on a project.

Why Are Huddle Rooms So Popular?

Huddle rooms are the new collaborative rage, and it’s easy to see why. They solve many of the problems faced by both open office environments and offices traditionally laid out with only one enormous conference room.

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You may have heard the term “wellness room” lately in conversations or articles about workplace layouts and office design. 

If you’re not familiar with the phrase, here’s an introduction to this relatively new concept that’s taking workplaces by storm and how you can create one at your company. 

What Is a Wellness Room?

A wellness room is a special area in the workplace that’s designated for quiet time, privacy, recuperation, and escape from the noise and fast pace of the typical office environment. 

If you work in an open office space without traditional offices that have walls and doors, you may have noticed an uptick in anxiety and a downturn in your productivity, both consequences of loud, distracting work settings.

Why Are Open Offices So Challenging?

Multiple studies show that, contrary to what was initially believed, open office spaces are more detrimental than helpful. Some of the problems with open office environments include:

  • Noise from chatter, meetings, computers, music, and office equipment
  • Visual disturbances from others working in the vicinity and passersby

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Noise in the workplace can impact your personal health and productivity. It affects you in a number of ways, even when you don't realize it. The stress doesn't end with work but comes home with you to influence your sleep, heart, hearing, and other aspects of your life and well-being. 

Noise is especially distracting when it occurs in an open office environment. Here is how workplace noise negatively affects how well you work and feel, and what you can do to end the cycle.

Signs of Too Much Noise

You might well be wondering: How much noise is too much? Is there some common, tangible way of gauging when it's too loud unless you really start consciously feeling frustrated by it?

Those are excellent questions. You can look to the OSHA standards for some common examples of what constitutes excessive noise levels: Whereas classroom chatter is 70 decibels, a freight train is at 80 and a boiler room at 90 decibels. 

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Zenbooth office pods are a unique and modern solution that enables you to provide quiet, distraction-free workspaces at your company. 

Built for between one and four people to work free from noise and visual disruptions, Zenbooths are flexible enough to be used calls or meetings in offices large and small.

Below, we've listed 17 ways an office pod can upgrade your workspace, from health to utility. For questions about shipping or discounts, get in touch with us here. 

1. Lower the stress & anxiety of your workers

Working in an open plan office is known to increase the stress levels of employees, particularly those who are introverts.

For folks who work best alone in a quiet environment, trying to concentrate in the hustle and bustle of an open office can be extremely daunting.

Lack of privacy can also cause anxiety for certain individuals who are constantly worrying that what they’re doing can be seen at all times by everyone, or who don’t like being overheard when they’re making phone calls.

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Peace and quiet is one thing that all employees need to work effectively — and in some workplaces, it’s anything but silent. 

Office spaces promote chatter and workplace noise simply because of the way they're arranged.

If your office is wide open without cubicles, your employees might complain about excessive sound being a distraction.In fact, one study showed that a whopping 58 percent of high performing office employees said they need a more quiet work environment. 

If you’re looking for an office space solution that gives your employees the peace and quiet they need to focus, then the two-person phone booth by Zenbooth is the furniture addition you want. 

Why your office space needs a two-person phone booth

Did you know that 70 percent of today’s office spaces have either zero or minimal partitions? That means there’s hardly any space for employees to go when they need a minute to regroup, make a phone call, or finish up an important project.

But with Zenbooth, all of that can change.

1. Our phone booths are virutally soundproof

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The future of office space & design is here, and office pods are one of the best new additions to 2019. Why are they becoming so popular?

Studies show that over half of high-performance employees find their workplace to be too distracting — 54% to be exact. Distractions in the workplace lead to decreased productivity and efficiency, which can lead to fewer sales, finished products, and less revenue in the long run.

To keep efficiency and productivity at an all-time high, Zenbooth office pods block noise, visual distractions and provide a quiet place for people to focus on important assignments or meetings. 

Here are 5 unique features of our office pods that will make them a welcome addition to your company. 

1. State of the art ventilation systems

You won’t have to worry about fresh air in your Zenbooth — our top-of-the-line ventilation system has you covered. It can sometimes become stuffy in a small space, but our booths provide fresh, clean, cool air to users via our motion-activated fans that come standard with every booth. 

Our systems can completely exchange the air in the booth in one to two minutes time so that your comfort level while using the booth is always in check.

2. Soundproofing unlike any other booth

One of the highest priorities of a Zenbooth is to offer a quiet place to work and concentrate. When you enter the booth, you’ll find that our top quality wall insulation keeps all noise at bay. 

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When it comes to snagging conference room space for your next big meeting, it can be a huge hassle competing with your coworkers. 

Some offices are just not equipped to handle the demand. Often times these spaces are in use exactly when you need them most. 

When your office’s cafeteria or common areas aren’t an option for a meeting, that’s where the four-person office phone booths from Zenbooth come in.

Our state-of-the-art office pods make it possible to always have the quiet, private meeting space that you need in addition to other conference areas in your office.

Want to learn more about what makes the four-person office phone booths, or as we like to call them, “Executive Rooms,” so unique?

Read on!

1. They Effectively Block Noise

The chatter of people in the next room, the buzz of employees milling around the coffee pot — sometimes, excess noise is too much of a problem when you're trying to have a meeting.

With Zenbooth, you won’t have to worry. Our 3.5-inch thick insulated walls ensure that no sound escapes and no sound enters. You’ll love working in this virtually soundproof workplace.

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The trend toward open office space is based on the belief that it encourages greater communication. Companies assumed that “taking down the walls” would help employees generate new ideas, which could in turn increase business growth. 

Initially, not putting up individual enclosures offered a sense of openness and a change from the traditional partitioned environment. Currently, 70% of offices have no or minimal partitions. 

However, the stress caused by working in an open environment can lead to more health problems and a loss of productivity.

Open Offices Spread Germs Similar to Classrooms

As soon as a child has a cold, flu, or another contagious virus, they’re likely going to share it with their classmates. Every time they handle classroom supplies, toys, or even the doorknobs, they pass germs to the next kid who touches that object.

The ease with which they share germs is the reason there are so many school absences during cold and flu season each year. 

Open offices work the same way for adults as open classrooms do for kids. That’s one reason that workers in open offices take up to 62% more sick days. 

When an employee doesn't feel well, their only options are to come into work and spread more germs or stay at home and use one of their sick days. The risk to every employee’s health is an unnecessary one. 

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It’s undeniable: open office layouts have taken over the workplace. From small-scale startups to large corporations, the open office has become the norm. While this approach has its proven benefits regarding functionality and budget, the inherent right to privacy, peace and quiet has become a luxury reserved for a select few. The fairy tale notion that open offices boost collaboration has been debunked time and time again.

The struggle is real.

If you work in one of these modern offices, you understand its challenges. Conference rooms are hard to come by, collaborating with your teammates at their desk is an incredible distraction to others, and honestly, it ends up being easier to email your neighbors rather than speak to them.

In keeping with our commitment to creating quality private and quiet spaces for all, we are thrilled to announce the release of the Executive Room to our family of products, which will help solve companies’ conference room space problems.

Just a box...or is it?

Maybe your company culture is the type to throw a few bean bags down to meet informally in a chill space”, or perhaps it could use a more formal conference room alternative with sound dampening capabilities.

However, conference room space is hard to come by, with employees battling for rooms and arguing over schedules.

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Do you work in an open office environment? If so, you probably know how difficult it can be to get work done in the wake up excessive noise. 

Sadly, noise isn’t just a nuisance; it’s a cause of increased employee sick time, stress, and lost work hours. But there is a solution: office phone booths. Below we describe the real detriments of open office layouts and how office phone booths like Zenbooth can be the remedy your offices'  auditory issues.

Sources of Noise in Open Offices

While there are many negatives associated with the once trendy open office workspace, like lack of privacy, visual distractions, and olfactory intrusions, nothing is more disturbing to workers than noise. In many open offices, people don’t even realize how distracting noise is because they have been living with it for so long.

There are multiple sources of noise in any open office environment. Of course, a natural cause of noise is people talking, whether it’s about work-related matters or personal topics. Overheard work conversation is irritating enough, but sharing weekend exploits, joking, and laughing take talk noise to a new level of aggravation for workers who need quiet to do their jobs.

Other sources of noise in the workplace include:

  • Ringing telephones and noise from office equipment, like copiers and printers
  • Typing and computer sounds
  • Video, radio, and music
  • Doors closing and elevators pinging
  • Cooking and coffee making sounds
  • Cubicle noise, like shutting file cabinets and rolling office chairs

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If your company has an open office, it's hard to imagine a way to combat the downsides without moving. From excessive noise to distracting coworkers, open offices hinder productivity and employee happiness. 

Fortunately, there are office phone booths like Zenbooth, a reasonably priced solution that provides a distraction-free environment for workers. Let’s look at five ways an office phone booth can lower stress in your workplace.

Screening Out Noise & Loud Coworkers

Noise is one of the biggest problems in open office work environments. Workplace noise can come from any number of sources, and in an open workplace, employees may be exposed to all of them:

  • Telephone calls and interpersonal conversations
  • Ringing phones and sounds from large office equipment
  • Elevator and door noises
  • Foot traffic
  • Workstation sounds: chairs rolling, file cabinets opening and closing, etc.
  • Coffee area and kitchen noises
  • Employee music at their desk
  • Even loud chewing and slurping

Zenbooth, a premium office phone booth, screens out noise up to 40 decibels so workers can concentrate. Loss of concentration at work is a huge source of stress to employees, and workers in open office environments take 62 percent more sick days than those in conventional work layouts.

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If you work in or manage an open office, you may have already discovered the many pitfalls of these environments. Open offices aren’t as beneficial as intended but there are phone booth furniture solutions available for companies not looking to move or reconstruct their entire floor. 

Keep the Open Office Benefits, Lose the Downsides

Open offices were originally created to make it easier for employees to work as a team and to collaborate on projects. However, many businesses don’t require this level of openness but use open office layouts nonetheless. 

While 70 percent of offices in the US have zero or low partitions, only 10 percent of workers believe “ease of interaction” is a problem for them.

Instead, open offices cause more problems than they solve. The downfalls of open office designs include:

  • Noise created by coworkers, equipment, music, and ambient elements
  • Visual distractions, like people constantly walking by
  • Lack of privacy
  • Decreased professional image to clients and visitors
  • Increased feelings of employees being hovered over or supervised all the time

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Does your office have a productivity problem? It just might if you have an open office layout. Research has shown that open office environments are not all they’re cracked up to be, but utilizing a private workspace alternative can alleviate issues that come with too much open space.

How Privacy Benefits Workers

Open offices were in vogue a few decades ago. Initially, advocates of this type of layout thought the absence of doors and walls would make for better communication and increased teamwork. Sadly, these open office enthusiasts were incorrect in their assumptions.

Open offices have been proven to be detrimental to productivity. One of the greatest problems with having no walls in a workplace is having no sound barriers. Noise is far more distracting to workers than was originally imagined, and more than half of employees surveyed in recent studies said they needed more quiet at work.

Furthermore, noise distractions in open offices aren’t just limited to the time someone is talking or playing music. Once taken away from their work by noise, people can require up to 23 minutes to restore their concentration, according to research at Berlin’s Humboldt University.

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Every business aims to create a work environment that enhances productivity. To achieve this, you need to optimize worker satisfaction and happiness, while also making the most of your physical setting. Installing office privacy pods is a fantastic, contemporary way to reach all of these goals.

How can our modern Zenbooths do this? To answer this question, let’s first analyze the conventional open-plan layout that many offices use. Then we’ll explore reasons why an office phone booth is the perfect compliment to your workplace layout.

The Cons of an Open-Plan Office Layout

A 2005 study conducted by the University of Sydney investigated employee satisfaction levels in connection with their work space conditions. They looked at sound privacy, comfort, noise level, ease of interaction, temperature, lighting and air quality. Hands down, the researchers found that private enclosed offices had the highest overall satisfaction rate, and open layouts had the lowest. 

Employees appreciated the visual and sound privacy of their own space, and they claimed that collaboration was just as easy in private offices as it was in an open plan. In general, workers found that their creative and intellectual juices flowed more smoothly when they had an isolated environment for focusing.

Employees Need Office Privacy Pods to Think Clearly

The results of another joint study by the University of California, Irvine, and Berlin’s Humboldt University showed how it could take up to 23 minutes to restore focus after an interruption.

 

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The way employees work in an office environment is evolving, and the offices of today must be able to adjust and adapt to suit the needs of their staff. 

The standard workspace we imagine as an office with cubicles or open office has gone through several iterations over the last few decades. Office design in 2019 may take a variety of shapes but the ‘90s style workplace where each person has a desk and cubicle is still popular – mainly because it’s a cost-effective design that allows more workers to be squeezed into limited space.

Open offices have their advantages – they encourage collaboration and communication between employees and, as already mentioned, they’re an economical form of office planning.

However, these perks are offset by many other negatives. Open spaces can be noisy and visually distracting. They can damage productivity and even employee health. Traditional open offices assume that everyone works in the same way and they don’t make any provisions for different working styles and different personalities.

So what’s the solution if you want the advantages of an open plan office without the downsides? 

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If you work in an open office, you probably wonder why they were ever created in the first place. While this common office layout was a fad decades ago, its popularity has waned, primarily because short-term savings have been demonstrably overshadowed by huge negatives related to productivity and stress. 

Here are some facts about open office environments, along with a solution that works for nearly any workspace. If your business is experiencing the downside of open office designs, all is not lost!

Problems with Open Office Environments

The problems with open office spaces are myriad, all of which ultimately affect a company’s bottom line. To start with, open offices, including most cubicle spaces, afford workers no privacy. While bosses may not be sympathetic to employees who want to talk to their doctor or babysitter without being overheard, they should think about other issues related to having no sense of personal space. 

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Office phone booths have emerged as a win-win solution to the problems associated with open office working environments. With phone booths, there's no more forced work distractions & no more frustration on the part of employees because they lack privacy.

They also provide employers an efficient, cost-effective way to create healthy, productive workplaces. Adding one to the office means companies won't have to invest in expensive renovations to provide workers with an alternative to the stressful open office concept. 

Thanks to the immense benefits, the variety of uses, and thoughtful features, Zenbooths have become a modern staple for organizations across the board, from growing businesses to major companies like Bosche and Capital One. 

Here are 17 key reasons why an office phone booth or office pod can enhance the way you and your team get stuff done.

office phone booths

Office Phone Booths Improve Employee's Mental Health

Working in an open environment for 8 hours every day can lead to increased stress and anxiety. It comes from the constnat exposure to noise and visual distractions. This condition isn’t just an issue for introverts, who aren’t interested in the high number of social interactions that an open office inspires.

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Unlike office pods, the modern concept of the work place layout stretches back well into the 20th-century, and – from a design standpoint – has been relatively unchanged. 

Although certain forms of technology such as desktop computers and wireless headsets have replaced magnetic-card typewriters and rotary telephones, the overall layout of an office space has remained roughly the same.

Now, as was the case during the 1960s, workers sit around a series of clustered desks in an “open air”-style environment. However, a novel innovation is poised to radically shift the ergonomics of office space planning, while also boosting employee productivity, health, and happiness. That revolutionary innovation is the office pod concept.

The Risks Related to an Open Office System

Before we address the specifics of what an office pod is, it would be best to overview the myriad features and disadvantages of an open office setup. 

Granted, open environments are easy for workers to maneuver through the office and allow for easy middle management supervision, but these are at best marginal benefits.

First, a mere 10 percent of office employees consistently report that “ease of interaction” with fellow employees is a serious concern to them.

Office Pod, office pod photos

View each model's features here

Second, an open setup may lead to obsessive observation of employees by management, rather than an appropriate amount of supervision. In addition to being a waste of a manager's time, this over-supervision can make employees feel crowded and be a source of distraction. Such distractions can severely sap productivity and reduce company revenue.

In other words, the few advantages of an open office layout are at best superfluous.

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Adjustable desk at different settings

One of the most frequent requests from our customers has been for an adjustable desk.  That's why we're proud to announce our new electric adjustable desk option for our Comfort Booth and Executive Booth XL.

The Zenbooth electric adjustable desk option is the first electric adjustable desk in the phone booth market, and is designed to fit seamlessly with the look of your Zenbooth.  It's easy to use, accommodates a range from 28" to 54", and is covered by a 3-year warranty.  The option will enable companies to make office phone booths more accessible for their entire workforce.

Contact sales with any questions

Get work done in comfort

The main benefit of our adjustable desk option is being able to work in comfort.  While our standard booth is super comfortable for a majority of users, they can sometimes be hard to use if you're very short or super tall (like our friend Keven, standing in a booth above).

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For over a generation, American businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and other institutions have committed themselves to the open office concept. Developed in the late 1940's, its inventors and advocates speculated that it would revolutionize intra-office cooperation. 

Make the walls disappear, they reasoned, and employees would have more opportunity to communicate. This new environment was supposed to foster innovation and creativity, while boosting productivity.

While some narrow groups, such as young office workers and extroverts, did react as expected, the open office has proved a headache — in some cases, quite literally — for most who must work there.

soundproof phone office booths

Common Problems Encountered in the Open Office Environment

After the turn of the century, studies began to show alarmingly negative impacts both individually and collectively. In most cases, the open office failed to live up to expectations. Instead of boosting morale, production and other measurables, performance suffered.

The problems faced in open offices stem from two sources: visual and audial distractions. At best, distractions can wreck havoc on work that requires concentration.

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Creating an office design that works for everyone can be challenging. Small individual offices are quiet and more private, but at the same time they can be isolating and take up too much space. 

Open offices are great for collaboration, yet they can be very distracting, creating a noticeable drop in productivity. So what’s the solution?

Ideally companies want mixture of both worlds, and they can find it in a new concept called office neighborhoods.

What's Inside an Office Neighborhood & How It Helps Your Business

Office neighborhoods provide a great compromise between a completely open plan office design and a more closed off style with cubicles and fully enclosed office spaces.

Companies embracing the office neighborhood concept ditch the traditional idea of everyone having a fixed workspace and instead create flexible activity-focused work zones that employees can move between freely.

Office neighborhoods split the workforce into groups or “communities” who need to work together on a particular day or for longer term projects. Being a part of a community instills a sense of belonging and promotes collaboration and communication between team members.

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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.

 

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If you work in an open office environment, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually have to deal with the excessive noise factor. One of the most annoying elements of office noise pollution is music being played too loudly by coworkers.

Sometimes it plays via desktop radio or mobile phone speakers, or it might even seep through earbuds that don’t contain enough sound. That can sometimes be worse because all you hear is tinny percussion or the music’s bass line.

A recent study by Oxford Economics showed that noisy open offices negatively affect employee retention. It also determined that only one percent of employees are successfully able to block out noise and other distractions on their own, without taking additional measures. 

coworker who plays music too loud

Here are some solutions, ranging from the simple to the more complex. Hopefully one will work for you, so you can focus appropriately on your work and keep your productivity up.

Problem Solve With Your Noisy Coworker

The first step is to talk to your fellow employee. They might not even realize their music is as loud as it is. Maybe you can ask them to turn it down or to limit playing music to morning coffee times and the end of the day. If you both like some musical artists in common, perhaps you can agree on a playlist.

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When you think of an open office environment, what comes to mind? For some people, it’s a cool, Millennial-style office space straight out of Silicon Valley, full of low-slung sofas and coffee tables. But for others, it’s an unproductive petri dish, where they have to fight to maintain their concentration.

While originally heralded as the solution to poor teamwork and over reliance on electronic versus face-to-face communication, open offices are slowly being revealed for what they really are: a detriment to the workforce. Here’s a look at the negative effects of open office environments, along with what you can do to reduce their impact in your business workspace.

Open Office Environments Produce Excess Noise

Noise pollution is frequently cited as one of the biggest downsides to an open style workspace. There are numerous work related examples that affect office volume levels, including:

  • Far too many employees in the same area
  • Construction of the environment (“live” space that echoes vs. dampened sound)
  • Amount of phone talk required for work
  • Noise from work machines (printers, buzzers, etc.)

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