How to Make an Open Office More Private & Relaxing

Open offices are increasingly found on the list of things workers find most annoying. For many, this doesn't come as a surprise. 

No sense of hierarchy, constant distractions, and a lack of privacy are just a few of the common criticisms made by those who work in open offices.

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But what direction can companies go? Closed offices, with their cubicles and dividers, are seen by many as a thing of the past. They discourages collaboration and teamwork. With every office layout, there comes a sleuth of downsides.

Those disadvantages can result in a lower rate of productivity for your entire team. Is there a way to get the best of both worlds in your office layout? Yes! Read on to find out how.

Why Privacy Matters in Open Offices

The ability to work and conduct meetings, phone calls, and interviews in private is hugely important in any office. The biggest drawback of an open office layout is that privacy becomes much harder to achieve.

While making your office more collaborative is frequently the touted goal among those with open layouts, it should be noted that collaboration is important WHEN it's time to work together. When a worker is trying to finish a time-sensitive task, distractions and the input of others may only slow them down.

That's not to say that open offices guarantee an increase in face to face interaction among coworkers, which most employees hope for.

A 2018 study by the Harvard Business School revealed that face to face interaction was reduced by approximately 70 percent in open offices, with email messaging increasing by about 50 percent. Needless to say, there's no guarantee that simply taking down the partitions will encourage your employees to work as a team.

There are so many things that go into increasing productivity among your team. While an open office may make their workspace more flexible and collaborative, it can also increase the noisiness of the office and the number of distractions. 

Being able to work in private, away from loud noises and distractions, is more integral to a business's productivity rate than you might think.

How Lack of Privacy in Open Spaces Affects Your Employees

A lack of privacy and quiet can be hugely detrimental to your team's productivity, overall mood, and satisfaction with their job. Studies have shown the multiple ways that constant distractions and noise can limit employee potential.

A 2017 survey of 700 workers found that 58 percent of problem-solving employees said they needed a quiet work environment to succeed, with 54 percent finding their current office environment to be too distracting.

Another report found that a functional office design can increase employee happiness by up to 33 percent. Given that a happier team means a higher productivity rate, fewer sick days, and a lower turnover rate, determining whether or not your office layout is working out is essential.

Office Neighborhoods Offer The Seclusion Employees Desire

When selecting your office layout, you have more options than just open or closed. While both layouts have their benefits, it seems like the sweet spot might be somewhere in the middle. One of the best examples of these alternative options is office neighborhoods.

With office neighborhoods, you incorporate both open and private workspaces into the layout. What makes this approach so innovative is the fact that it suggests employers provide different layouts for each floor or section of their workspace to meet the individual needs of their staff.

This is most relevant for businesses with multiple departments, and perhaps different demographics and working styles amongst their employees.

For example, maybe one department tends to have more time-sensitive assignments and fewer reasons to be collaborative. This area of the office could have more private spaces like phone booths and huddle rooms (more on that later). This will allow the workers who need privacy the most to have access to it at all times. 

On the other hand, you may have another department where the workers have to be on the move or communicate with each other all day long. With this layout, you can largely incorporate an open office layout plan while ensuring that there are options for workers who need to break off into smaller groups to work. 

Project rooms, as an example, can be incredibly beneficial to workers who need to plan and complete work quickly.

The best way to determine how to organize your office neighborhoods is to analyze the position of different employees in different departments (polling them wouldn't hurt either). This will help you in identifying and delivering on their wants and needs, therefore increasing their mood and productivity rate. 

Office Huddle Areas

An office huddle area (or a huddle room) is a designated collaboration room. This space is intended to be used by workers efficiently & without distractions. 

These enclosed spaces should be fully equipped for that purpose, going beyond the more straightforward private rooms in office neighborhoods. You can help your employees take full advantage of the space by outfitting it with things like:

  • Soundproofed Walls
  • Ventilation System
  • White Board
  • Tables and Chairs
  • TV Monitor

Huddle rooms are the perfect option for a group of two to five workers to tuck away from the noise of an open office or the barriers of a closed one. 

Having this small, quiet space easily accessible throughout the day is far superior to a larger meeting room that has to be booked ahead of time. Sometimes things can spontaneously happen out of nowhere. Whether those situations are good or bad, you'll want your team to have a huddle room so they can have privacy while they get to work.

This type of office layout is a very accessible solution for those who fear their workspace may have a privacy issue. It doesn't require you to completely reformat your office, which can be timely, expensive, and sometimes totally impractical.

Agile Offices

Another method of incorporating privacy into your open office is using agile floor plan design. Agile floor plans are highly relevant to newer businesses that consist of small teams and remote employees, rather than the traditional 9-5 office structure. 

Agile offices prioritize flexibility, adaptability, and unsurprisingly, agility in order to make a productive and satisfying work environment. 

Can your layout accommodate the projects and workload that you and your team take on? Does your layout encourage teamwork, collaboration, and bonding while being conscious of harmful levels of noise and distractions?These ideas are central to an agile office. 

It's about responding to new situations as they come to you by incorporating new spaces, designating quiet rooms for certain projects, and regularly communicating with your employees to ensure their changing needs are being met.

Zenbooth Offers a Privacy Solution for Noisy Offices

So how do you create a more agile office? How do you find the perfect huddle room? How do you change the way your different office neighborhoods are laid out? The Zenbooth Single, Duo, and Quad booths may be the answer you're looking for.

Zenbooth units are rooms that can be assembled and installed in your office within an afternoon. That's right, no construction fees, no distractions, no long waits. With a Zenbooth unit, you can add new, professional rooms to your office with incredible ease. 

So what makes Zenbooth units optimal for incorporating privacy into open office environments? Every one of them is soundproof, with echo absorbing panels and 3.5 inch thick walls. They're also outfitted with a twin high-powered ventilation system that will keep your workers feeling fresh, even during high-pressure projects.

Their high-quality, eco-conscious build is made to last, comfortably fitting two workers in the Duo and four to six in the Quad booth. These units are perfect for workers looking to:

  • Conduct Private Calls
  • Finish a Time-Sensitive Assignment
  • Work in Small Groups
  • Meditate and Recharge

With dimmable LED lights, multiple electrical outlets, and many other features, you can count on Zenbooth to add privacy to your workspace. We're certain you'll see the immediate benefits of our units, so much so that we offer free shipping and a free 30-day return period for your convenience. 

Feel free to order from our website or to reach out to us if you have any questions about our booths and how they can revolutionize your workplace. 

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