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.
They're also useful for meetings and one-on-one interviews.
Open Office Design Plans - The Positives
One advantage of this design is the ability to easily share information among employees. Employers can also keep a close eye on productivity and address everyone in the room without going from office to office to get a message out, or relying on sending an e-mail that may not be read right away.
It also costs companies less to arrange desks in an open format than it does to construct separate offices.
Unfortunately, this ease of sharing information also leads to a loss of privacy. It's stressful to have no option for making a private phone call due to sitting at an open office desk.
Concentrating on work can also be a challenge. Distractions abound when people are working on different tasks all around the room, talking to each other, taking phone calls, and moving around.
Collaboration Pods Solve Stress and Privacy Issues
People naturally notice and respond to what's happening in their environment, and that includes coworkers constantly moving around.
A requirement of working effectively in an open office space is the deliberate attempt to screen out everything else that's going on. This extra vigilance adds unnecessary stress, especially for those working on a project with an approaching deadline.
It can be challenging to concentrate on an assignment with phones ringing, coworkers meeting, keyboards clicking, and sounds from other computers chiming in. Some people in open offices wear noise-canceling headphones to screen out these distractions.
Unfortunately, headphones are expensive, and companies don't often pay for everyone in an open office to have a pair. Besides, employers can't easily get the attention of an office full of employees if they're all wearing headphones.
An open office plan doesn't respect the differences between people. External stimulation affects some people's ability to cope more than others.
Also, while a few people may be okay in an office with coworkers all around, some can find it excruciating to be in close proximity to others throughout the workday. Personality conflicts that may have otherwise simmered below the surface can blossom in an environment where workers are continuously forced to deal with each other.
Loss of Privacy
One of the major stress factors in a job is a lack of autonomy and individual agency when working. People want to feel that they "own" an assignment and that they're trusted to see it through to completion. In an environment where everyone can see what everyone else is working on, unwanted input may interfere with this.
Another pressing issue is the inability to make a private phone call. Employees who work full time have to deal with doctor's appointments, daycare issues, family illness, and many other private matters that they don't want to discuss in a room full of people.
Lack of privacy has been identified as one of the major factors linked to burnout in the workplace.
Mental and Physical Stress
All of these factors can create emotional distress, and stress in the workplace has been a well-documented cause of physical problems.
When employees' defenses are breached by noise, distractions, and loss of autonomy and privacy, it becomes much harder to cope at work. Stressed employees take more time off, leading to financial losses for a business.
In one UK study, workers reported that workplace stress made it harder to focus and to manage more than one task at a time. It also took people longer than usual to complete assignments.
Collaboration Pods Prevent Decreased Productivity
Do the advantages of an open office get eroded by a loss of productivity? Data seems to indicate that output suffers when there's no possibility of finding a quiet place to concentrate, even occasionally.
Workers need the ability to take a "time-out" from the job for other reasons too. It's hard to keep up a good front all day when you're not feeling well, and offices with spaces devoted to relaxing in privacy give employees a chance to get away from the stress of the office, regroup, and rest for a few minutes.
A small break like this can make a big difference in the ability to cope effectively with the demands of a typical workday.
This kind of wellness support can make a real difference in workplace satisfaction. A third of millennials in one survey identified the availability of rest and relaxation spaces as one factor in deciding whether to take a job.
For employees to be productive, they need to take breaks, especially in an environment with lots of distractions and not much privacy.
Office Meeting Pods: Uses and Benefits
There's a way to keep the benefits of an open office plan while addressing the drawbacks described above. Adding affordable, functional phone booths, comfort booths, and conference room modules can make a positive difference in the work environment.
Zenbooths are an attractive addition to the office, built with natural and aesthetically pleasing materials.
These modules are especially suited to a workplace that uses agile work environments. Ongoing conversations and collaboration are central to the agile method. Workers are given the autonomy to complete work where and when they see fit with this strategy.
The availability of a flexible workplace makes setting goals, fine-tuning a plan, and monitoring its progress easier and more efficient.
- Materials: The booth's doors and handles are made of high-grade aluminum from California. Locally sourced and recycled engineered wood panels are used for the exterior, and plexiglass is used for the skylight roofs.
- Flexibility: Choose a maple or white exterior and an adjustable or stationary desk. These collaboration pods will fit from one to six people, depending on the product selected. Three different size models let you pick the amount of space you need, whether several individual Comfort Booths, an Executive Booth XL for two or three people, or the larger Executive Room for meetings. Many businesses elect to go with several different size Zenbooths for their workplace.
- Ventilation: Sensors automatically detect occupancy and activate the ventilation. All of the air is refreshed each minute in a Zenbooth, with the use of a motion activated, quiet circulating fan.
- Lighting: In addition to interior lighting, a skylight ceiling allows office light to penetrate the Comfort Booth, Executive Booth XL, and Executive Room.
- Soundproofing: A Zenbooth module cuts down on noise from the environment greatly, and it prevents conversations from being overheard outside the booth. Walls that are 3.5 inches thick and insulated with soundproofing material mean discreet discussions stay private, while noise on either side of the walls doesn't penetrate.
- Connectivity: Two three-pronged electrical outlets, an open data port, and three fast-charging USB outlets are provided for each booth.
Office Furniture Pod Reviews
Portability is one key feature that reviewers like about Zenbooth modules. When moving an office location, the booths can easily be transported to your new building. Customer reviews also applaud the relaxation and quiet that Zenbooths provide.
They have relieved pressure on demand for conference rooms, provided a place to make private phone calls, and created the perfect spot for video conferencing.
We're happy to deliver solutions to make your office design more functional and attractive, and we stand behind our product with a three-year warranty. Satisfied customers say that the booths are easy to assemble and sturdy.
Our customer support is often mentioned in reviews, and it's a prime feature of our service. From ordering through delivery, and phone support after the sale, our commitment to creating satisfied Zenbooth customers is a cornerstone of our mission.