Open space work design began with the best intentions. The idea behind them was to get people sharing knowledge, conversing, and increasing the creativity pool thus creating a more productive work environment.
Without the barriers of cubicle walls or partitions between work-spaces employees could collaborate much more easily and ultimately would work harder. It is difficult to be a slacker when everything you do is on public display.
Open work spaces seemed like the ideal solution for a corporation that wanted to better monitor its employees and encourage teamwork. What actually happened is another story altogether. It turns out all the open office pros and cons skewed mostly in one direction.
The Need for Open Office Quiet Rooms
A study was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in December 2013 that found open-plan layouts were more disruptive than office-type layouts due to “uncontrollable noise and loss of privacy.”
The expectation of enhanced interaction unexpectedly increased the noise in the workplace leading to greater employee dissatisfaction. What the great thought leaders wanted was a big open space where everyone worked together to create big things. What they got was a big open space that felt like a company picnic in the park, people milling about making conversation and catching up on yesterday’s news.
Enclosed private offices clearly performed better than open-plan layouts in many areas. Employees value their privacy more than the atmosphere of open space working.
As with most things in life, open space offices have both advantages and disadvantages. The question is do the pros outweigh the cons? For example, open plan offices are more economical. You can pack more employees into more work space but in doing so you also increase the noise level which has been shown to reduce employee performance.
There’s another point listed as an advantage that turns out to be not so advantageous. The theory that open work spaces promote collaboration among team members was questioned by the employees themselves. It turns out only a handful of employees thought collaborating with team members was a problem.
What actually happens in an open setting is more chit-chat about non-work-related topics which interfere with collaboration. It is similar to what happens in a grade school classroom when the teacher gives the students free time.
Open Offices Add to Stress Levels
Numerous studies have been done regarding noise level and its effect on human behavior and stress levels. This one, published in the Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, found that open-office noise elevated workers stress level and hindered their ability to concentrate.
We all know what happens when stress levels increase but here is a quick review. Stress affects your thoughts, behavior, and body. Left unchecked, a multitude of health problems will begin to creep up on you. They come in the form of illnesses like persistent headaches, upset stomach, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
Mood symptoms include restlessness, lack of motivation and focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, anger, and depression.
Open office spaces encourage people to share ideas, thoughts, computers, desk space and eventually sickness. When your co-worker begins coughing and sneezing into that open space air, they share it with everyone nearby.
Can you guess what happens next? Exactly! Increased use of sick days and decreased productivity in the workplace. Another study determined that people working in an open office are 62% more likely to use sick days than those who had their own office space. That is a lot of sickness.
Stress happens in life and people get sick. It is unavoidable, but it can be lessened in the workplace with the use of quiet rooms.
Open Office Quiet Rooms: Best of Both Worlds
The solution to the open office floor plan would need to have the ease of collaboration that these environments promote, but still respect an individual’s need for privacy.
Cubicles are among the most popular options available for offering designated semi-private work spaces. The first cubicle was introduced in 1967 and it has remained a staple of the modern-day workplace.
It provides storage, individual work space and it is easily adjusted but still, it only offers a semblance of privacy. Meetings, sales calls, employee reports, and all other meetings that would take place in an office setting are easily overheard. Cubicles are no longer the ideal solution because something better has come along.
Enter the office quiet rooms by Zenbooth. Work booths create a quiet work environment in which employees can be productive and focus on the task at hand.
Work booths are soundproof and use eco-friendly materials in their design. They are pre-finished with high-grade maple wood inside and out, and high-grade aluminum is used for the doors. The ceiling is made of high-grade safety plexiglass and the door is a dual pane tempered glass which allows for plenty of natural light inside the work booth.
Ventilation is powered by two quiet exhaust fans that exchange the air in the booth in under 2 minutes. The fans are activated by motion sensors on the door and keep the temperature inside comfortable.
When you need a quiet place for making phone calls, meeting with a team member or employee, or just somewhere to concentrate away from the bustle of the office noise, the soundproof work booth is the ideal place to go.
Open Office Quiet Rooms: Make and Models
What model should you choose to place in your open plan office design? You can go large and choose a one size fits all meeting pod or utilize the individual office pods for employee convenience. Most office settings find a combination of booth sizes work well and suit all their needs. All booths are modular and have an easy-move design.
The Executive Booths are modular with clear ceilings and double-pane insulated glass doors. These booths are great for small conference sessions and the sound insulation keeps them private.
The Comfort Booths are the perfect place for focus and concentration. It is quiet, comfortable and the anti-fatigue floor mat is great for the employee that paces while they think or talk on the phone.
Open Office Quiet Rooms Readily Available
Our booths are shipped directly from our factory in Berkeley, CA and upon arrival are delivered into the building in flat packed boxes. The one-person booth will take 1-2 hours to assemble and the 2-person booth will take 4-6 hours.
Because the environment needs friends, our work booths are eco-friendly. The wood is sourced from local forests and the materials are recycled and renewable.
Work booths are replacing cubicles and open works paces in the office because they are private, quiet, accessible, and affordable. Every company would benefit from having several work booths placed in strategic locations throughout the office area. Contact us today for more information about our products benefits and usability.