New trends are emerging in modern office furniture, with exciting opportunities for businesses to finally get the specialized layouts they desire. And companies can do so with a minimum amount of fuss and expense.
Whether your business is trying to solve problems associated with an open office format, or your simply trying to capitalize on agile office floor plans, there are solutions available.
Here’s a look at some of the problems many companies routinely encounter and how these new modern furniture trends can come to the rescue, including activity-based work environments and office meeting booths like Zenbooth.
Why Executive Office Furniture is Needed In Open Plan Spaces
Somewhere around the middle of the 20th Century, open office floor plans took off. No longer were these layouts the purview of call centers and stock broker bull pens.
Even small offices in a variety of industries were adopting the open office concept. This was fueled in part by the popularity of renovated loft and industrial space.
Open office floor plans were also inspired by new work philosophies that emphasized team building and collaboration between employees. Private offices gave way to open spaces with large work tables or cubicles. Workers could chat more easily about joint projects, and it was thought that the open environment fostered greater transparency and a more equal work setting for all.
There were other advantages to open office layouts too. The cost of setting up this type of environment was far less than that of a traditional office. This created a distinct advantage for start-up enterprises and companies on a tight budget.
In many instances, open offices are less expensive to heat and ventilate. Workers can share office equipment, thereby cutting down on the cost of supplies.
Without the interference of walls and conventional desks, offices could be easily rearranged as needed to accommodate shuffling teams or hiring new staff. Moving to a new office or to a different floor in the same building became easier as well, another convenience.
For as many problems as open office floor plans fixed, however, new ones were created. One of the biggest headaches that come with this type of office design is noise and distraction for workers.
The same ability to collaborate on projects easily means workers wind up talking more around each other. This could easily result in constant low-level noise and disruptive conversations.
Other sound is more noticeable for employees too, such as the noise created by office machinery and people coming and going during normal business activities. People passing by the workstation can be another form of distraction which adds to a sense of chaos in the office.
All of these make it hard for some workers to concentrate on high-focus tasks.
The effect of constant interruptions on employees can’t be overestimated. Every time a worker is disrupted, they must re-focus. In many cases, this can take more than 20 minutes. The cumulative effect of this time loss can be significant and represent a serious loss of productivity -- and therefore revenue -- for any business.
Workers who are interrupted may also make more mistakes or oversights in their work. This can have disastrous consequences if they work in health, finance, engineering, and other professions where 100 percent accuracy is required.
Furthermore, the stress many employees feel as a result of continual distractions and noise at work leads to a higher number of sick days. Stats show that open environments may increase sick leave 62 percent more than regular offices.
It can even cause employee attrition and difficulty in recruiting, once word of an unpleasant office environment leaks out. Older workers, who are accustomed to a traditional office structure, may not be happy with what they perceive is a work layout for young or novice workers.
Over time, as workers began to expose the negative side of open office spaces, polls and studies were done to see if this formerly revolutionary layout was doing more harm than good. The results were not favorable.
Consider these startling findings:
- Millennial workers in one survey would be willing to take a $7,600 pay cut for improved quality of life in the workplace.
- Thirteen percent of workers in another poll would sacrifice their end-of-the-year bonuses for a private office.
- In widespread questionnaires, more than half of high-performance employees say they need more quiet at work.
- Only 10 percent of workers think they actually need an open office to collaborate with coworkers.
How to Fix the Open Office Problem With a Zenbooth XL
The problem for many businesses is that once they convert to an open office, the switch back to a conventional model isn’t feasible or even possible. For some businesses, the cost is just too much.
For companies that rent their office space there are restrictions on construction and making changes to the architecture.
Businesses have tried to figure out ways around their distracting workplace problems with varying degrees of success. On a basic level, more flexible furniture sometimes works. For example, ditching cubicles in lieu of rolling desks and tables may be satisfactory for some companies. Workers can reconfigure the office as needed to team up or to work solo based on their tasks.
Some companies have taken flexibility up a notch with “agile” work spaces. In this scenario, employees do not have assigned seating. They choose from several types of work areas depending on their needs on any given day.
They may select a team table one day and a quiet corner the next if they have an assignment that requires a high degree of concentration.
Even this scenario leaves several glaring problems. Rather than overcomplicate the issue, Zenbooth has made it easy to overcome the obstacles of noisy offices -- without a highly expensive remodel.
Zenbooth XL: Solving the Open Floor Plan Crisis
Office meeting booths like Zenbooth are a way to step up ABW in workspaces where private offices don’t exist. These portable office spaces, like the name implies, are phone booths for workers that screen out noise and offer a distraction-free environment for high-focus tasks, while still being bright and spacious.
Zenbooths, finished with natural wood exteriors, provide easy access to workers of all abilities. They contain 3.5-inch insulated walls and a door that closes magnetically to keep out up to 40 decibels of noise.
Other features include:
- Motion-activated fans to cool and freshen the air
- Optional adjustable-height work surface
- Dual 15A 110v electrical outlets
- Fast-charging USB outlets
These booths can be assembled in a day or less and positioned wherever you need them in the workspace to create an instant private office.
Solutions for Executives
Zenbooth office meeting pods come in two sizes. The largest version, the Executive Room, provides a flexible space that’s ideal for team meetings of up to six people.
Executives and managers find the mid-size Zenbooth, the Executive Booth XL, best for them. This booth comfortably seats two people and offers a work surface in the middle for laptops and writing.
While most of the studies and surveys done on open office spaces have focused on workers, upper management also have difficulties with the open layout.
Having a private booth gives managers the benefits of an office, but it can be shared and put to use as needed. The Executive XL is perfect for conducting job interviews and hosting one-on-one meetings with important clients. Having a private spaces adds professionalism to an open office without sacrificing any of its advantages.
If your business is challenged by a disruptive work environment, don’t let it continue to affect your staff or reduce productivity. Contact Zenbooth today to see how our different models could benefit your company. You can make an open office work by embracing new trends that give you both the flexibility and the privacy you need.