The open office, once the trendiest office fad, has hit a downturn in popularity. From academic studies to exposes in The New Yorker, BBC, and elsewhere, experts and employees alike have complained about the detriments of the open office.
Although most organizations will not revert to the traditional model of having a number of private offices, help is on the way in 2019. Many have started looking into the value added to their work environment by office privacy booths.
These are nine reasons why companies have started looking at phone booths and moving away from the open office towards an evolved concept called the “agile office." This style combines the best of the open and traditional office concepts & privacy booths can help make the retooling easier and more cost-effective.
The Problematic Open Office
From the 1950s until the first decade of this century, the open office has slowly taken over the work world. German experts created the concept after World War II as a way to force colleagues to occupy the same space instead of hiving off into their own separate spheres. They believed that without walls between them, employees would create a more communicative and creative environment.
By the 1990s, tech companies embraced the ideal just as corporate America was searching for cost cutting measures to remain competitive.
Unfortunately, the open office did not deliver on the promise of more communication, creativity, or productivity. Instead, it brough noise and aggravation. Nearly two thirds of American office workers complain of too much sound at work, while only 10 percent of employees in traditional offices say lack of communication is even a problem.
Visual Distractions At Work
While anyone in any work environment can experience visual distractions, they are more pervasive and problematic in the open office. Distractions do create serious issues for both the worker and the organization. According to a Humboldt University study in Berlin, it can take an average of 23 minutes for a worker to restore concentration once lost.
In enclosed spaces, an individual can better control potential problems from a cell phone or computer display. Those stuck in open offices have no control over what could pull their eyes from their work.
Cubicles have a limited ability to block out problems but 70 percent of all offices shun both walls and cubicles, forcing people to work with no protection whatsoever.
Office Privacy Booths Stop Audial Distractions At Work
Worse than the visual issues are audial distractions. Over 30 percent of all open office workers complain that excessive noise disrupts their work.
Open offices create a cacophony of noise. Random conversations, ringing phones, office machines, and other noise pollution creates an atmosphere of constant distractions. The inability to escape from it can create a number of issues from individual health problems to drops in productivity across the board.
Lack of Privacy for Phone Calls in the Open Office
One major benefit of the office phone booth lies in its ability to create private spaces for business calls. Sometimes an employee needs to concentrate when on the phone with an important client. Other times, a person may need to take a call of a personal nature. Neither they nor their work colleagues want the nature of the call to be broadcast across the office. If for no other reason, the office booth plays an essential role in keeping private communication quiet.
Privacy Booths Offer Work Space for Quiet Concentration
A 2013 study indicated that office workers spent over half of their time on projects requiring individual focus. When one factors in the time spent in trying to re-establish concentration once broken, it is plain to see how overall productivity can suffer as a result.
The Zenbooth's sturdy construction blocks up to 40 decibels of noise. This gives workers an opportunity to concentrate on work in peace and quiet or also take that important phone call.
Employee Health Problems from Constant Noise
Noise pollution in open offices without relief can not only affect productivity, but health as well. Studies show that many who are exposed to the typical daily sounds and noise level in an office environment can develop serious problems.
Constant noise pollution can trigger the release of low levels of the fight-or-flight hormone. This can lead to chronic anxiety and even depression while elevating the risk of high blood pressure and other dangerous conditions. Open offices end up with almost two-thirds more sick days accumulated than those working with traditionally designed work spaces.
Adding offce privacy booths not only help to improve the ability of workers to concentrate and communicate, but it also could prevent health problems that come with spending a lot of time in an open office.
The New Agile Office Environment
Out with the old and in with the new. In recognition of the serious problems encountered, both individually and collectively, in the open office environment, many companies have moved towards what is called the “agile office.”
The agile office preserves the open space for potential collaboration envisioned by advocates. They can still meet, discuss and create as a team. It recognizes also that every employee will need to work in a quiet space where they can concentrate on projects, communications, or other work.
One of the only groups who professed to like the open office concept was younger workers in the millennial generation. Even there, however, those with more introverted personalities needed places to work alone and escape the possibility of unwanted interactions.
Office pods ensure that the dynamic qualities of open space do not impose themselves completely on those who need quiet time alone. In addition to blocking out noise, the closed door prevents employees from having their spaces randomly interrupted.
Agile office environments also help organizations satisfy the needs of people who do not like a lot of social interaction, but would also not work well from home.
Office Privacy Booths Cost Less Than Full Renovations
With so many open offices now retooling and re-incorporating private spaces, there is an immediate need for low cost quality solutions. The office pod in most areas costs much less than renovating or finding a new work space with offices built in.
The Zenbooth is fully sourced and manufactured in the USA and is renowned for its durable construction and ability to block out normal levels of office noise. It has ample LED lighting, a quiet fan for optimal air circulation, multiple charging ports for electronic devices, and an easy-to-operate sliding door.
Zenbooth’s offers the best convergence of the needs of the modern office and the requirement to keep overhead costs as low as possible.
Modern Phone Booths Are Much More Flexible Than Traditional Offices
In addition to containing all the amenities needed, Zenbooth's also offers another important characteristic: flexibility.
Despite their sturdy design, which incorporates genuine California hardwood, the weight of an office booth is not prohibitive. They may be easily disassembled and moved, or can even be moved while fully constructed.
Portability ensures that office rearranging is much easier when it inevitably happens. They can also be easily moved to new facilities.
Contact Zenbooth for More Details
Reach out to us today to see how our private phone booths can add to employee peace of mind and boost your organizatio's productivity.
Our product has received national attention for its innovative approach to solving modern office problems. Our courteous and professional staff stand ready to discuss your company's needs.
Call us at (540) 646-8368 or send us a message through our contact form.