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.
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.
- Calls to clients or other business associates may not be as confidential as those other parties would like or expect.
- Managers cannot confer in confidence with employees or each other, since everyone is out in the open
- Workers feel anxious when managers or supervisors are always looking over their uncovered shoulders
- There are audial and visual distractions all around
Open office and cubicle spaces tell employees that they’re almost like children--not trusted or worthy of adult privacy. They may even facilitate stalking and workplace harassment or discrimination.
Then there’s the noise factor. Open offices are notoriously loud, not just from workers talking to each other and on the phone but from music, equipment, and other common office sounds (elevators, coffee makers, printers, etc.).
Don’t discount the distraction of visual and olfactory “noise” too. These interruptions cause enormous losses in productivity every time workers have to refocus, which affects not only revenue but employee happiness and retention.
Valuable older workers, who are used to more traditional workplace layouts with walls and doors may find open offices impossible to get used to. Clients may view the workplace as unprofessional or chaotic.
Workers may become embroiled in interpersonal conflicts about everything from chatty neighbors to smelly lunches to the overuse of perfume. Theft of personal property (or the accusation of) can also become an issue.
In addition to the potential for allergy symptoms to become worse, open offices are known to facilitate illness through the spread of germs. Employees wind up taking sick days because they’re actually sick, in addition to being stressed or overwhelmed by their work environment.
Consider these statistics about open workplaces:
- More than three-quarters of offices today are completely open or have low partitions.
- Only 10 percent of workers think open office environments are actually necessary or beneficial to do their work.
- As of 2013, US office workers spent more than half their time performing individual tasks.
- Studies show it often takes workers more than 20 minutes to regain their focus after interruptions.
- More than half of high-performance employees say their work environment is too distracting and that they need more quiet at work.
- Nearly one-third of employees in open office environments are unhappy about ambient noise.
- Open office workers take up to 62 percent more sick days from work.
The Dilemma for Businesses
Businesses that are saddled with now-undesirable open office environments are faced with a dilemma. The cost of changing the space architecturally is daunting for most companies. Renovation & construction or moving is simply too costly and not practical. And yet businesses continue to lose time, productivity, revenue, and employees to the open office problem.
Office Meeting Pods Are a Flexible Solution for Everyone
Fortunately, there is an easy solution for businesses that need more privacy and quiet for their employees. Zenbooth makes easy-to-install, flexible meeting pods in a variety of sizes.
They are a bit like phone booths for the office and allow businesses to create private workspaces for both individuals and groups. Employees can use them for an hour, a day, a week, or more, depending on their unique needs.
Features and Benefits of Our Booths
Zenbooth is currently available in three different sizes. The Comfort Booth is designed for one person sitting or standing. This model is ideal for all kinds of situations, such as:
- A quick need for privacy
- Workers who consistently need more quiet than the rest of the office
- Visiting auditors, consultants, or employees from another branch
- Employees working on short-term tasks that require concentration
- Workers who need to be separated due to irreconcilable workspace conflicts
The Executive Booth is made for two people to meet or to work quietly together. This size booth is ideal for:
- Two employees to work on high-focus tasks side by side
- Two employees to work on a project together
- Manager performance reviews of workers
- Confidential conversations between two people
- Meeting with a single client or outside consultant
The Executive Room is even larger and can accommodate four people at the same time. This booth is perfect for:
- Four employees to work quietly side by side
- Four employees to meet together on a project
- Larger meetings with clients
- Management meetings
- Team discussions or presentations
- An alternative when the conference room is booked
Each Zenbooth is insulated to block out noise and create a serene interior for the occupants. Conversely, if you are trying to keep your open office environment quiet, a Zenbooth can be used when employees need to talk or use audio, such as a phone on speaker setting or watching a video presentation.
Zenbooth is great for new employees who need quiet to view onboarding videos or training sessions. Want to rehearse a big pitch or speech out loud without disturbing the entire office? A Zenbooth is the perfect place.
Every Zenbooth model is well ventilated for fresh air and a comfortable temperature. A motion sensor activates the ventilation system when you open the booth's door.
Electrical hookups are available in each model for AC plugs as well as USB charging. An ethernet connection allows direct access to your Internet network.
While the Comfort Booth and Executive Booth come with fixed desks at a height of 40 inches, an option is available to make the desk adjustable for both sitting and standing workers.
A 40 inch-high desk is a comfortable height for many people standing, which has become very popular due to the health benefits of being upright.
With adjustable height office chairs as well for those who wish to sit, Zenbooths offer total flexibility for employees to find the desk and chair combination that works for their body type.
These booths are a reasonably priced alternative to the construction of conventional walls and doors, and they are far more flexible. The smallest of the three models starts at only 500 pounds, meaning it can be assembled in a few hours on-site after delivery and easily moved on furniture sliding pads.
You can try a Zenbooth in various locations around the office, and if you need to move it, you have options you don’t get with permanent construction. Also, if your entire office moves, you can take your Zenbooth with you and keep your investment, unlike architectural improvements you would normally have to leave behind.
The benefits of using Zenbooth to rectify the negative aspects of an open office space are numerous:
- Improving employee concentration and focus
- Creating a quiet, professional, discreet atmosphere for meetings and phone calls
- Reducing worker stress related to noise and lack of privacy
- Decreasing the number of sick days caused by the open office environment
- Increasing retention
- Making an office layout that enables and supports both advocates of open design and those who need more privacy
Think about what your business spends to recruit and train employees, as well as what it pays out in salaries every week. Can you afford to lose worker time to noise and distractions, or worse, have employees quit over what they consider poor working conditions?
What about employees taking sick days due to open office-related stress? Issues over allergies, theft of personal property, or harassment could even result in legal claims against your business.
How to Use Zenbooth Meeting Pods to Improve Your Worklife
Every Zenbooth model has specifications that vary, such as size and configuration. However, all Zenbooth models have some specifications in common that you’ll want to know about.
Each Zenbooth is made in the United States from locally sourced materials. Zenbooth doesn’t use foreign labor, nor is there international shipping that slows down orders or increases the price.
Zenbooth uses recycled and renewable materials for an eco-friendly alternative to conventional construction. Zenbooth construction is hand finished for that old-fashioned artisan touch. There are several wood options for the interior and exterior.
The ceiling of every Zenbooth is made of high-grade safety plexiglass. Dual pane tempered glass is used on the doors, which feature magnetic latches.
The threshold of each Zenbooth model is designed to be as low to the ground as possible to facilitate access by all (ADA compliant).
All you need to use a Zenbooth meeting pod is a sufficient area in your office and proximity (about 15 feet) to a 110V three-prong outlet. You want an even floor with no dips and enough room to swing the door open.
Zenbooth will help with installation instructions and even recommend experienced installers in certain metropolitan areas. A skilled handyman can assemble a one-person Comfort Booth in about two hours; the larger Executive Booth meeting pod takes roughly four to six hours.
Each Zenbooth is designed to work with the fire code for your local area, but care should be taken that your Zenbooth should not be placed in such a way that it blocks sprinklers or exit routes. While Zenbooth screens out exterior noise, you can still hear a fire alarm from within a Zenbooth.
If your fire marshall determines that a sprinkler must be installed on the ceiling of a Zenbooth Executive Booth or Executive Room because of their size, they can be easily modified.
Delivery for a Zenbooth is among the fastest in the industry. Various shipping options are given when you place your order. Zenbooth is shipped flat, right to your office doorstep.
Every Zenbooth comes with a three-year warranty, in addition to a 30 day money back guarantee. Zenbooth wants every user to be completely satisfied with their experience.
Zenbooth to the Rescue! Customer Testimonials Say It All
Many businesses have found Zenbooth to be the perfect solution to their open office issues. Check out these reviews to see how Zenbooth might come to the rescue for your office too!
"I have some people who will literally spend all day in them. We essentially created mini-conference rooms by buying the booths, saving us a ton of time, money, and effort, and best of all: everyone absolutely loves them, and we can move them or take them with us wherever we go." (Ben, Director of Operations at Addepar)
"An awesome team and product. Our office loves the booths for privacy, space, and temperature. The team over at Zenbooth offer amazing service and have been proactively reaching out to see how our experience has been." (Byron, International Operations Coordinator at Shopify)
"The booths are great, everyone here loves them and it's really helped open up our conference rooms for larger meetings. Overall, everything is great and if we end up needing more private booths like this, I will absolutely re-order from Zenbooth." (Will, Operations Manager at Gizmodo)
"We bought 4 of these for our open office, and the team absolutely loves them. Great quality and design is excellent." (Luke, Founder/CEO at Farmer’s Fridge)
Learn How You Can Order a Zenbooth Meeting Pod Today
If you think a Zenbooth is what your office is looking for, check out the models on the Zenbooth website and get in touch today In less than a couple weeks, your business could start to increase productivity, reduce stress and improve the overall happiness of its workers.