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.
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.
The Problems with Open-Plan Offices
For a start, when open-plan offices first made their appearance they were hailed as a less costly alternative to accommodating employees. However, this theory has not held up over time. The latest research shows that because open-plan office working can be distracting, productivity is reduced, and so in fact it’s not the most efficient way to work.
Another of the most impactful effects of working in an open office environment is the noise pollution, a source of distraction for employees that makes it difficult to concentrate.
This very real phenomenon has been verified by a study on concentration led by Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, which found that once focus is interrupted it takes an average of 23 minutes to get it back. This is a real threat to both productivity and workers’ job satisfaction.
In fact, a 2017 article by Forbes said that the distractions of working in an open office diminished productivity by a range of between 15 and 28 percent.
The same article leads us to another frightening statistic: that open office workers are 50 percent more likely to fall sick. Basic science tells us that viruses and bacteria spread more rapidly in crowded, shared spaces, and a combination of that and common sense says that the stress of sharing our workspace is sure to affect the human mind and body.
As well as the loss of focus and exposure to illness, think about the effect working in an open-plan office has on privacy issues. How can employees make confidential calls or take part in video conferences with so many distractions around them?
The lack of privacy also impacts on employees by making them feel that they are being constantly watched by their managers, and not able to get on with their tasks freely.
What Employees Think of Open-Plan Offices
Let’s take a closer look at what open-plan employees think of their work environments.
A recent revealing survey of office workers by YouGov produced some startling findings. These include the statistic that 13 percent of workers said they would consider leaving their job because of their office configuration, and 16 percent verified our finding above that they believed the quality of their health had deteriorated working in the open office environment.
This is in addition to a whopping 31 percent of workers saying they felt inhibited in expressing their real opinions on calls made in the office for fear of others overhearing and judging them.
So, to what lengths would open-plan office workers go to for some private workstation? Among the findings were that 13 percent said they would relinquish their end-of-year bonuses.
The same amount would give up five days of vacation, a total of 25 percent would give up their office party, and 27 percent would trade the office coffee machine for some peace and quiet.
The Huddle Room Trend Incorporates The Best Furniture for Open Offices
Now that we understand the real implications of open-plan working, how can companies adapt their offices to spaces that can promote productivity and a happy workforce?
Converting your office space entirely from an open plan to individual offices is clearly too costly and disruptive for the majority of businesses.
But imagine if there was a value-for-money solution that was easy to implement, which meant that an open office could work alongside a private, quiet space?
This is where the huddle room trend comes in, providing a workable solution for the modern office.
Huddle room furniture consists of small booths or rooms that can comfortably accommodate one to six people, with superior models boasting bright and roomy spaces, efficient ventilation systems and electrical power units.
Huddle rooms are the bigger version of phone booths, which comfortably provide space for one to two people.
And they are fast becoming the go-to solution for offices all over the Unites States.
As we head into a new era of office working, many authorities on office design trends, including Home Business magazine, have quoted modular and multi-functional workspaces as an emerging style for 2020.
Smaller, private rooms are becoming more and more popular thanks to their versatility.
And if you’ve already heard of Zenbooth products, then you’ll know we provide soundproof office booths and huddle rooms to meet this very need.
Providing a private space that dampens noise to the extent that conversations can’t be heard outside - that is both beautiful design and our specialty.
Our three models suit from one to six persons, depending on your needs.
If you’re looking for a huddle room, our Executive Booth XL is the perfect solution. Suitable for two to three people, it features an optional height-adjustable desk and is great for private two-person meetings or simply for one employee to enjoy a comfortable, quiet space to work.
For a four- to six-person meeting room, check out our Executive Room. This huddle room can easily accommodate a variety of furniture and is the ideal place for small groups or collaborative working to be conducted in an attractive and private environment.
And let’s not leave out our “little sister” Comfort Booth. As thoughtfully designed as its bigger siblings, this phone booth is suitable for one or two people and includes an optional powered height-adjustable desk.
As well as their superior sound dampening, all our models are designed to comply with accessibility requirements, are made from easy-to-clean and durable recycled wood panels and aluminum, and are the only booths available to boast a skylight plexiglass ceiling.
This allows light to flood in, making for a pleasant work experience.
If that wasn’t enough, know that our products use an efficient ventilation system that circulates a whole booth’s worth of fresh air once a minute, keeping their users and the environment clean and cool.
All models also come with a power and data unit, with USB and electrical outlets and a port for data or telephone cables.And – if you needed any more convincing - the evidence in favor of phone booths and huddle rooms is plain to see.
FoxNewsBusiness has reported some telling statistics on the subject of office phone booths, saying that they are considered to get rid of more than 50 percent of workplace noise. This has a positive domino effect, as working in a quiet environment can increase a worker’s concentration by up to 48 percent.
And there’s more… this means they make 10 percent fewer mistakes, and their stress levels reduce by 27 percent.
Get In On The New Huddle Room Trend
At Zenbooth, we make it easy for you to order and receive delivery of your comfortable and efficient booth, offering fast shipping, deals on multiple purchases, a 30-day free returns policy.
It’s plain to see that a Zenbooth can provide the complete solution to your office needs with its simple and efficient design. Reach out to us to find out more about how our products could transform your office space and boost productivity and employee well-being.
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