If you ask around, many people will tell you that the open office is a millennial concept. They will also tell you that the backlash against the open office layout is a new thing.
But the truth is that the first open office layouts, with long rows of workers all seated together in one room, have been around almost since the first offices came to be. And though there are studies going back to the 1980’s showing that noise, distractions and privacy are a disadvantage in open offices - as much as 70% of workplaces now feature an open layout.
When you add in the fact that flexible remote work options are more popular than ever, the flexibility that open office layouts present becomes even more attractive. In a world that is always on the search for the next trend, or the most revolutionary technology - innovation is key to a successful business.
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The ease of collaboration in an open office allows this to happen. However, studies have shown that an open office can actually hurt collaboration and have a serious effect on productivity.
So how do you enjoy the benefits of an open office layout, take advantage of the power of remote workers, and give your team access to distraction free areas that promote better teamwork and collaboration?
A simple solution that is as versatile and cost effective as the open plan layout are office phone booths such as the Executive Room from Zenbooth. So to help you decide if our Zenbooths are the best solution for your business - here are some advantages.
1. Office quiet rooms make spontaneous collaboration easier
The ease of collaboration is a major benefit of the open office layout, and the “culture collision” aspect can often spark innovative ideas that would never have occurred otherwise. But in an open office, anyone and everyone can overhear everything. So your off-the-wall idea that has merit could be shot down before it is ever really considered or discussed.
Booking a conference room to go over these impromptu ideas is often an involved and lengthy process, and it might be days before the space becomes available. By then the idea might have stagnated, or disappeared all together. Office quiet rooms like our booths are smaller, less formal, and a company can have several of them throughout the office. This makes grabbing one for a quick meeting easy.
2. Open office quiet rooms are as versatile as the open office layout
The noise factor of an open office plan means that more often than not, small teams are using large conference rooms for everyday, casual meetings. When these meetings are being done via video conferencing, it could mean that just one or two people actually need the room at a time. Not only does one person in a huge room look odd, it is an inefficient use of space.
Office quiet rooms are perfect for smaller groups looking for a silent spot where they can communicate with other people without distraction. Even if you opt for multiple purpose built booths, or feel you would benefit from larger unspecific rooms that accommodate up to six people - you will be making the most of the space you have.
3. The intimate space makes people open up more
Between one third and half of the workforce of today is made up of introverts. And to an introvert, the open office environment is one of the none circles of hell brought to life.
Being an introvert does not necessarily mean you are shy or unwilling to be part of a team. In an open office, there are times that even the most extroverted person will not speak up.
It could be because of simple social anxiety, or the fear of being judged and ridiculed by your coworkers that keeps you from contributing to discussions. Speaking up in a traditional meeting where both managers and project leads are present can also be highly intimidating. Small intimate quiet rooms or booths cater for both situations.
They provide a space where everyone is free to think and plan with minimal distractions, then test out and discuss their ideas with a small group of people. The simple fact that meeting pods and huddle rooms are more informal settings means they encourage participants to be more involved and open with their ideas.
4. Office quiet rooms make remote workers feel connected
For a variety of reasons, tech giants like Facebook, Google, IBM and Facebook have decided to move away from telecommuting. But working remotely has become a major part of everyday business, and many millennials look for companies that offer some degree of remote working flexibility. In fact, according to a Gallup poll - about 25% of people are working remotely all or most of the time.
Before you would use a conference room to connect with these team members, but that means only one team can use the facilities at a time. With small meeting booths, the audio visual equipment is not as extensive. You can even include remote workers in a discussion with simple video conferencing tools like Skype or Zoom and collaborative cloud platforms like Google Docs or Zoho Writer.
5. Our office booths are portable
In times gone by, a large portion of space went to building a conference area or meeting room. These are normally the largest room in the entire office and usually located somewhere out of the way. But office phone booths, by their very nature are small and unobtrusive. You can have one meeting pod, or dozens scattered throughout your office.
And because they are essentially just well equipped, soundproof boxes - you can take them with you when you move to another location. There is no need to get special permission to erect walls or install your videoconferencing equipment in a leased office. Because these meeting booths are essentially “plug and play”, installing them is much faster and typically takes no more than a day.
6. Office quiet rooms are cost effective meeting room alternatives
Depending on the size of your company, you may still feel the need for a traditional conference room or imposing boardroom. And as the global market expands, the need to equip these rooms with sophisticated audio visual systems is vital to allowing your business to operate across borders.
In spaces this size, the simplest video and audio technology is just as effective. In fact, you don’t need to use anything more than the built in camera on laptops, tablets or smartphones for casual video chats.
Add in video chat platforms with screen sharing capabilities, and it will seem like your remote teams or global clients are in the room with you.
7. Office quiet rooms boost productivity
An executive conference room has a corporate atmosphere, while quiet rooms and meeting pods provide a versatile area where more work gets done in a less formal environment. Smaller groups of people working away from the distractions and noise of an open office not only collaborate better - they do it more often. Because there are less distractions and minimal setup required, a meeting can start immediately and be finished in less time.
The laid-back, informal style of meeting pods or huddle rooms may seem counterproductive, but the versatility of these small spaces makes them perfect for any business. The best part is that anyone can use them whenever and however they need to. Whether this is for in person meetings, for video chats, first thing in the morning or during lunch.
What features your booths or meeting pods will have will depend entirely on your business needs. But while the open office layout remains popular for businesses off all shapes and sizes, there will also be a serious need to find ways around their disadvantages.
And these compact, easy to use, "plug and play" meeting rooms are one of the most cost effective ways to boost productivity, improve collaboration and use the space you have effectively.