The need for peace and quiet in the workplace can have long-term consequences for businesses. As such, it’s a topic that’s receiving a good deal of attention among productivity researchers.
Today’s open-plan offices were designed to create an environment that would foster collaboration among employees, with the ultimate goal of increased productivity. However, in actual practice, open-plan offices have been shown to be no more collaborative than private offices. Studies have shown they actually impede productivity due to the noise levels and other distractions they foster or create.
In addition to making it more difficult for employees to concentrate on tasks, a noisy work environment can interfere with critical telephone conversations and video conferences by making it more challenging to hear the person on the other end of the line or the other side of the video screen. And if the practical implications of these findings aren’t concerning enough, another related factor that many overlook is that consistently high noise levels, an almost-continuous state of distraction and a nearly total lack of privacy can significantly increase employee stress, lowering productivity still further. One interesting aspect of the research in this area is that while the employee often doesn’t consciously realize that s/he is under stress, the levels of stress hormones produced by that employee’s body tell a different story.
A Survey of the Research
In addition to the noise-related evidence collected from more recent studies, a 2014 article in The New Yorker* examined a number of earlier studies that clearly demonstrated the following (as well as noise-related and other similar findings):
“Psychologically, the repercussions of open offices are relatively straightforward. Physical barriers have been closely linked to psychological privacy, and a sense of privacy boosts job performance. Open offices also remove an element of control, which can lead to feelings of helplessness.”
Open office environments were also shown to correlate to a 50 percent higher rate of employee absences due to illness than private office environments—an indirect though equally significant way in which the open plan office negatively impacts productivity.
What’s the Solution?
With most of today’s offices architecturally designed in the open office style, what can today’s businesses do to mitigate the above productivity drains and better equip their employees to do their best work for the company? Is it really necessary to renovate the entire office space, turning it into private offices?
Fortunately, this high-cost solution isn’t the only available option. The most practical and least expensive answer to boosting employee concentration, motivation and, ultimately, productivity is as simple as installing one or more fully self-contained Zenbooth phone booths into your open-plan office to provide your employees with a quiet place to work without interruption whenever needed.
Our office telephone booth is an innovative concept developed by the company’s architectural designers seeking to solve the open-office, high-stress, low-productivity dilemma. Since its development, their revolutionary idea has provided quiet workspaces for countless employees in companies, large and small, better enabling them to more effectively achieve their companies’ goals. The self-contained units, ranging from one- to two-person phone booths, offer a less-expensive solution than hiring a contractor to renovate the office.
The units, which are crafted from high-quality materials, are quick to assemble, easy to move around the office and even easier to break down and transport during an office relocation. In short, the booths are a highly practical way to provide your employees with a fully-equipped workspace where they can close the door on workplace commotion and concentrate on getting things done.
Clear & Compelling Evidence
The evidence is clear: Employees who are given access to quiet spaces on a regular basis are more productive, more focused, less stressed and far better equipped to do their jobs effectively. It’s easy to see how these factors would lead to greater overall company productivity and ultimately add up to increased revenue. In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening every day for the forward-thinking companies that have opted to try this revolutionary idea in instant and portable office redesign.
Disruption of office-related tasks by speech and office noise