Zenbooth is a California based company that has delivered comfort and quiet to some of the biggest brands in the world, including Lyft, Zenefits, Virgin and Samsung.
In the Times article, it described how Gizmodo Media Group, home to some of the largest publications online, started off buying a few Zenbooths and trying them out with their writers and editors. The feedback was “positively positive” across the board. Soon more Zenbooths were ordered.
We know that this demand comes from workers. But why are they so desperately in need of an isolated space to focus?
Employees feel that they can be more productive and reach their true potential with office pods. Indeed, studies have shown over and over again that noise is one of the most distracting, disruptive forces a person can experience when they desperately need to focus on intense tasks.
In some cases it can take up to 23 minutes for an employee to get back on track. Over 54% of high performance workers say their office is too distracting. Yet today roughly 70% of offices have zero or law partitions.
At Zenbooth, we don’t just promote office pods as a solution to workplace distractions. We actually use them. They’re great for video chats, phone calls, or just getting some alone time.
How the Office Pod Market Began to Rapidly Expand
One of our Zenbooth Co-Founders was recently asked to appear on a local Colorado news show. He discussed the need for quiet places at work in great detail, as well as the inspiration behind our office pod designs and uses.
“We saw that open office works spaces really started to develop over 30 years ago, with the thinking that everyone would be more interconnected. The problem is that people don’t actually feel that way when they’re working.”
This sentiment is backed up by a study which showed only one in ten workers thought interacting with their colleagues was actually too difficult. Essentially, one of the main problems open offices hoped to solve wasn’t even an issue to begin with.
Instead, open offices created their own problems, like the ability to make phone calls or focus on intense tasks.
“We wanted to find a place for people to make quiet phone calls. It’s just that simple.Our booths quickly expanded from the one person, to the two person models. When people get inside them they find that they’re finally able to get things done.”
Now Zenbooth provides office pod models that fit up to 6 people.
Zenbooth Product Materials and Special Features
The Comfort Booth and Executive Booths are free-standing, portable pods that people use to have quiet conversations, focus on critical tasks and avoid the disadvantages of their open office.
They block up to 40 decibels of noise, meaning no one has to leave the building to take phone calls.
Below we detail the inner workings of these uniquely designed models, including what materials they’re made of and what modern features they contain. After all, it wouldn’t be a great work space if you couldn’t plug your iPhone in, would it?
We should add that all materials used to build our office pods are eco-friendly, 100% recyclable and locally sourced.
Comfort Size Models & Executive Size Meeting Booths
- All wood products are manufactured in the U.S, and exceed California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) stringent formaldehyde emission standards.
- Recycled denim soundproofing insulation is STC rated for commercial and residential use.
- Ceiling and doors are made from 2 layers of laminated safety glass.
- Each office pod contains two standard USB ports for smartphone charging.
- A sensor automatically turns off all electronics and ventilation fans within the booth when it is not occupied.
- The booth is plugged in from the backside by a standard electrical outlet cord, that is 15 feet long.
The Zenbooth Experience From a Verified Customer
Before you decide to purchase a Zenbooth you’ll not only want to read verified reviews, but you'll want to hear exactly how these products are used.
What is the real world impact of their addition to an office? How does it change the way people work and what are its most common use cases?
Below we provide a unique story from a previous customer who explains the pain points their company wanted to tackle when they contacted Zenbooth.
They purchased multiple comfort booths to alleviate an overly crowded conference room, and a generally noisy office.
Q: What style Zenbooth did you purchase — the Comfort Booth?
A: Yes, we purchased the Comfort Booth. We purchased 8 of them and will likely be ordering more.
Q: Are you happy with your purchase?
A: Yes, we are extremely happy with our booth purchase from Zenbooth. We did a ton of research including an in person test of a booth they had already installed.
I also have a lot of experience building out offices and have not had as much success with structurally built-in phone booths.
The mobility aspect of the Zenbooths, along with all the features makes them extremely flexible and functional, exactly what we needed.
Q: What was your motivation for buying them?
A: We have a truly wide open office concept with only 2 private offices for a company of over 250 people. We have a lot of different sized meeting and conference rooms but they are always in high demand and often over-booked.
We have 3 major office locations, often times with individuals needing to video-tele-conference with each other from different locations. We set up the phone booths with hardware that perfectly allows someone to step into a booth and have a video-tele-conference with someone in another office at the easiest of conveniences.
We essentially created 8 miniature conference rooms by buying the 8 booths, saving us a ton of time, money, and effort, and best of all everyone absolutely loves them and we can move them or take them with us wherever we go (they are not super easy to move but easy enough and while are also not permanent fixtures).
Q: Do you use them in an open office floor plan?
A: Yes, we had plans to have all 8 of them set up in one area but that space got taken for other ad-hoc needs and so we were easily able to pivot and set the booths up elsewhere. We currently have them separated into a group of 2, and a group of 6.
I haven't seen them all in use at the same time yet, but very close with a day last week having 7 of the 8 being used at once. Even with 6 of the booths literally being placed directly next to each other, they allow for enough sound privacy that people really enjoy using them.
Q: Generally how long do you use the booths per sitting & have you ever felt uncomfortably confined or become too stuffy?
A: Great question. Much like conference room chairs, I don't believe the booths are intended to be comfortable for more than say an hour.
I wouldn't encourage you to get stools in them to help reduce the risk of people "camping out" in them for long periods of time, but my workforce quickly demanded the stools.
We don't have set time limits on their use yet but I do see that quickly becoming an issue.
I have some people who will literally spend all day in them simply because they enjoy the peace and quiet, and privacy. I personally don't mind confined spaces and would spend all day in a booth if I could but I know there are people on the other end of the spectrum.
That said, I have yet to find anyone who is opposed to using the booths. Most people are excited to use them and really enjoy them. I have a small list of features/creature comfort items to discuss with Jeff as possible upgrade options, one of them is improved air flow/circulation if not AC being a possible option.
If you place your booth in direct sunlight, there is a good chance it can feel warm or stuffy.
Q: Do you stand or sit while using the booths?
A: Both. I prefer to stand, and there are nice anti-fatigue mats in them, but a lot of other people prefer to sit. Giving people the option by providing stools is always nice.
Q: What is your biggest issue or complaint about them?
A: Really nothing, they are exactly as advertised. As mentioned earlier, I am a bit of a tinkerer, so have a list of possible upgrades but I don't think they are reasonable or feasible for standard booth options.
If anything, they would be one off modifications I would make to them myself. Really though, no big complaints.
Q: Did they arrive on time or close to the estimated shipping arrival date?
A: They arrived exactly on time, as promised, which is impressive considering we ordered 8 during the holiday season. The team was amazing during the delivery and installation, spending as much time as needed to ensure we were happy with the setup; even helping us troubleshoot a wiring change we wanted to make along the way.
Q: Would you say that the booths are constructed with high quality standards?
A: Yes, very much so. They may come across a little basic but really you don't want/need anything too extravagant for the purpose they are intended for. The wood, finishing, and setup to ensure proper installation and function are all of very high quality and caliber.
I have a lot of experience with high end construction including rebuilding show quality classic cars, these booths are every part the expectation of quality construction.
Q: Would you order them again or order more if needed?
A: In a heartbeat yes, I already plan on doing so when the need arises.
- Ben M.
Your Office Pod Buying Checklist: Answer These 5 Questions
Determining whether you're a good candidate to buy an office pod is easy. We've used stories from our customers to piece together a picture of what type of companies need to provide more quiet spaces for their employees.
To help you with the buying process we've come up with the following questions you should ask your team or colleagues.
1. Is your conference or meeting room consistently booked?
The tyranny of the 1 person conference room / teleconference meeting is effecting people everywhere. If you've noticed it in your office, then it's time to consider a privacy booth.
At the same time, if your meeting rooms are full at too many critical junctures during the day, then you should also start to consider alternatives.
2. Do people have to step outside to take their phone calls?
If the answer is yes, then it's obviously time to add an office phone booth to your work environment. No one wants to run outside just to handle a simple 5-10 minute call, and it's nearly an impossible task if you live on the east coast and it's winter.
3. Are coworkers distracting each other?
This is not to be confused with actual collaboration. Workers have their own idiosyncrasies and they can be distracting to their colleagues. Also, employees who are talking loudly on their phones, or listening to music at unnecessary volumes can be a huge nuisance to the entire work place.
4. Are stress levels in your office high?
Aside from the immediate uses and benefits a phone booth can provide, the privacy it allows workers is a huge stress reliever.
Studies have shown that even if workers don't use a private, quiet space at work, the fact that it's there and that they can seek refuge whenever they need to provides a calming presence.
5. Can employee productivity be improved?
When it comes to working on tasks that require 100% focus and no distractions, our office pods are a great solution.
Those who handle workloads more on the complex side definitely need a work space that is void of distraction. Plenty of open plan office research has shown that constant work place disruptions cause workers to lose 1-2 hours of overall production each day.
The Open Office Concept Is a Failure | Office Pods Are The Next Frontier
Two company issues that directly impact overall productivity are sick days and turnover. Turnover in particular can lead a department into paralysis until the vacancy is filled.
It probably comes as no surprise that workers in open plan offices take 62% more sick days. Airborne illnesses are more easily spread in this environment, but it should also be considered that employees need to use these sick days to have some privacy and alone time.
They’re feeling stressed out from all the office noise around them (which lowers their immune system.)
25-30% of open office employees are dissatisfied with the level of workplace noise. Dissatisfied workers are more likely to bolt for different companies where they feel more comfortable and feel they can reach their full potential.
The solution to all of this is the addition of meeting booths or privacy booths so that workers are feeling happier and more productive at their job.
Stress can have seen and unseen consequences, and 9/10 times the work place cure for this is sustained privacy and quiet.
Office Pod Product Prices, Return Options and Warranties
Our office phone booth prices range from $4,495-$15,995. The $15,995 models will fit two-six people inside them and function as a cost effective alternative to building a meeting room or redesigning your entire office layout.
When you purchase a Zenbooth you’re purchasing a product that is made with the finest materials - no shortcuts. We use denim insulation, pre-finished maple wood inside and out, and high grade plexiglass for the doors.
Each booth comes with a fully backed three year warranty, however we can’t imagine anything could possibly go wrong when it comes to the durability and usability of our product.
If you find that the user experience of the booth doesn’t appeal to you, or that you would rather go with partitions or construct standalone offices at your workplace, you can return the booths within in 30 days and get a full refund.
Working With Zenbooth
Zenbooth provides its customers with support from a team of specialists to make sure their office pod is installed and for maximum benefit.
We're highly responsive to questions or comments from our purchasers, and our sales team has the knowledge and experience to find solutions to the most complex workplace situations.
You can get in touch with Zenbooth a number of ways. Our company email, which is monitored 24 hours day, is [email protected].
We also stay on top of messages to our social media profiles like Facebook & Instagram.