Zenbooth

Zenbooth Blog

Has your workplace adopted an open office floor plan? 

Have you experienced your work and train of thought being interrupted in the middle of typing an urgent, complicated report? 

Are there times when you just want to scream and shout at your office mates for being so noisy? Don’t worry. You're not alone.

 In fact, studies have shown that people working in both open-plan and cubicle settings are unhappy about the amount of sound privacy they have at work.  A small number of those who have their own offices expressed the same sentiment.

Of course, the open-plan office has accomplished a few things: more face time with your colleagues, maximized space and the resulting cost savings. 

But it hasn’t really done much for employees in terms of the level of collaboration, quality of communication, and productivity. Instead, people complain that being out in the open, forced to share space at close quarters, discourages open communication and leads people to lose focus, thereby reducing productivity and delaying work.

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We've read recent media reports of concerns about WeWork phone booths having potentially elevated levels of formaldehyde.  We suspect that these phone booths contained imported products that weren't subject to regulation, or that they weren't properly ventilated.  As we'll detail below, all Zenbooth products meet or exceed strict regulatory requirements and are properly ventilated.

Zenbooth Factory Showing

Background

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is a wide range of products - from apples to drinking water, to the desk you may be working at.  Typically, it does not pose a health risk to consumers, however, exposure to elevated levels of formaldehyde may lead to eye irritation or other symptoms. 

In the United States and other countries, there are regulations in place to protect people from chemicals like formaldehyde that could cause potential harm.

In particular, the EPA and California Air Quality Resource Board (CARB Phase II) has set strict standards for wood products (1). The wood we use to create our booths is tested, certified and labeled by our Californian vendors to meet those standards. 

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Supporters of the open office design once promised that it would improve face-to-face communication, collaboration, and office relations. Over time it failed to deliver on its supposed benefits. Instead it added too much distraction.

 Business owners had to come up with ingenious ways to counter the ill effects of the open-plan office. For companies that embraced it and realized they made a mistake, commercial privacy booths or office pods became a go-to solution.

This is not to say that the open-plan office has been a total failure. Open-plan offices help maximize space, save on costs, and increase face time among office workers.

However, studies have shown how open office spaces are also disruptive and how they negatively impact concentration, productivity, and efficiency at work.

 

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Executive office spaces are changing as organizations move away from the rigid and structured workspaces of the past. 

The world’s high-performing companies, from global giants like Apple and Vodafone to startups like Duolingo and Vital Proteins, are using flexible & inspiring office design to keep their executives focused and motivated at work.

The reality is, we know more than we ever have before about how office design and workplace features impact productivity – and the overall success of a company. 

Incorporating natural features in to your design and offering dedicated quiet spaces in the layout can transform a workplace. 

Companies are turning their offices into an inviting environment that people actually appreciate spending one-third of their lives in.

We also know that a poor office environment can be a deal-breaker, especially for well-educated executives. They have the skills and expertise to work for the most attractive employers, so they can be choosy. 

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There’s a lot more to designing your office than choosing a color scheme and whether you prefer the dark wood or glossy white furniture trend.

In order to ensure your workplace is somewhere that promotes maximum efficiency and productivity, you must carefully consider layout and functionality, as well the interior feel. 

Activity-based working (ABW) will be one of the hottest trends in office design in 2020. Companies that create their offices in this way find that they can maximize their use of available space and provide a better working experience for their employees.

 

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You don’t always need training and motivational programs to boost your employees’ morale and work productivity. 

According to a study conducted on employee output, 58% of Americans say they need quiet and private working conditions to improve their performance. 

For those working in an open office space, Zenbooth is an incredibly efficient and effective way to heighten your work environment for everyone involved.

Open office layouts can have major shortcomings that affect efficiency, such as noise, harsh lighting, over-the-shoulder lurking, and other disruptions from coworkers. 

A closed-plan office layout, on the other hand, aids in sorting our hierarchies, establishing personal space, and keeping a workspace organized.

Zenbooth is here to help create this new layout, without adding an impersonal or harsh aesthetic, or needing to expand the actual square footage of your office space.

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The idea of office workers contently typing or filing away in their own neat, little cubicles has been erased. 

Studies on stress, the need for a work-life balance and changing attitudes towards work have taken us far away from the rigid, traditional workplace. 

Old offices were setup in ways where interaction with others was discouraged.

There was also a false belief that keeping people cooped up was essential to productivity and focus.

In 2019 office workers demand more freedom in the general office layout. In fact, a survey involving global office workers showed that about 70 percent of them spend at least one day a week working remotely.

Both millennials and Gen Z-ers prefer to work in more open spaces, as long as they are also provided quiet places for when they want to work without distractions. 

Flexibility and easy access to private spaces where they can focus best are of prime importance to the success of this new generation of workers.

Given these facts, many companies have veered away from traditional office setups and have begun modernizing their commercial real estate.

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With millennials taking over the workforce, it's high time that you changed the look and design of your office to suit their tastes.

For your company to excel and achieve new heights of success, you need to ensure that your employees are happy and satisfied.

There's no better way to enhance their comfort than with a well-designed, cozy office. 

You can make your employees feel appreciated and valued, thus boosting their confidence and desire to work. 

To win over millennials, you need to think of several designs and layouts that might increase the aesthetics of the office. If you are not conversant with these office designs and layouts, fear not.

Have a read through these tips and start applying them today. 

Tip 1. Setting Aside "Home-Style" Office Areas

One thing about millennials is that they love socializing and getting to enjoy the company of friends. 

For your business to improve, you need to create a friendly environment where everybody is free to talk and socialize with each other.

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Are you looking to update your office layout? 

You may want to, considering that working in a comfortable office environment plays a significant role in boosting employee morale, mood, and productivity. 

These worker attributes will either directly or indirectly impact the success of your company.

The number of employees should not solely determine your choice of office layout. You should also factor in the type of work, amenities present, aesthetics, and company branding. 

Check out the following, trendy options that we think are worth a try. 

1. A Modified Open Space Layout 

      Following the recent proliferation of modern startups with new-age generation employees, open office layouts became very popular. 

      As the name suggests, this layout is characterized by an open working space, free from partitions. Working desks appear as clusters or in rows. 

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      When we hear the term ‘agile work environment,’ what usually comes to mind is hot-desking, working from home, or remote work. 

      However, agile working is all that and providing a unique office layout. It’s about giving workers the freedom and ability to perform their roles in the most appropriate place and time.

      Agile work allows for choice and flexibility in terms of where and when tasks are done, as long as work is delivered within reasonable timelines. 

      The principle behind agile working is that team members are adults – meaning they are mature, responsible, and trustworthy enough to be expected to perform their duties without much or any prodding. 

      It’s more about encouraging or guiding staff to act responsibly on their own volition.

      The beginnings of agile work environments

      Our familiarity with stress and the ever-present need to attain a work-life balance is one of the factors that has led to the evolution of the traditional, nine-to-five in-office work arrangement.

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      Before you choose new office furniture in 2019, look into the latest ideas about office layout & design. 

      Open offices have fallen out of favor after they were originally created to promote staff collaboration. Although the concept promotes communication with fellow employees, the openness can create too many distractions. 

      With no partitions between desks, employees have trouble focusing on their work. Private phone calls or confidential meetings often require a trudge to another office or building, disrupting work and wasting time.

      A New Direction 

      Today's high end modern office furniture fits with the new activity based working (ABW) environment. Like the open office, an ABW office promotes collaboration and communication. The difference is that a variety of workspaces are available for different employee needs. 

      Instead of assigned workspaces or a completely open office, employees can sit in an open area or move to a partitioned, private space. These environments promote concentration and remove the possibility of disruption.

      Below are 5 trendy examples of high end modern office and workspace furniture that reflect this need. 

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      There’s no question – the days of drab, monochrome office design are over. Rows of cubicles with identical chairs and tables can guarantee one thing: an uninspired and unhappy workforce. Your employees are your most important resource, and for them to be as productive as possible, they must enjoy the space that they work in.

      Luckily, creating a desirable workspace doesn’t have to mean buying the most expensive designer furniture. 

      Rather, the focus should be on design cues that will make your staff feel comfortable and appreciated. Here are 17 next-level tips that will have your staff excited to step through the office doors every morning.

      1. “Homestyle” Office Areas

      Even if your office space is a not a true activity-based workplace (ABW), agile workplace or similar concept, it's likely that you provide an area for workers to relax and/or have informal meetings. And if not – you certainly should!

      Every study done on the topic has shown that the addition of a purpose-designed place to relax comfortably at work greatly increases employee satisfaction, and as a result, productivity.

      A growing trend is to make these areas even more relaxing and inviting by using residential-like décor. Include furniture and fittings like sofas, low-slung coffee tables, plants, and even paintings and other wall decoration. 

      With this type of design, employees get a taste of the respite they feel on returning home.

      2. Old/New Fusion Furniture

      This one has proven to be particularly popular with employees around the globe. Perhaps as a result of many older spaces being repurposed as new office space, an emerging design trend is the bold juxtaposition of old design cues and infrastructure with very contemporary ones.

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      New trends are emerging in modern office furniture, with exciting opportunities for businesses to finally get the specialized layouts they desire. And companies can do so with a minimum amount of fuss and expense. 

      Whether your business is trying to solve problems associated with an open office format, or your simply trying to capitalize on agile office floor plans, there are solutions available.

      Here’s a look at some of the problems many companies routinely encounter and how these new modern furniture trends can come to the rescue, including activity-based work environments and office meeting booths like Zenbooth. 

      Why Executive Office Furniture is Needed In Open Plan Spaces

      Somewhere around the middle of the 20th century, open office floor plans took off. No longer were these layouts the purview of call centers and stock broker bull pens. 

      Even small offices in a variety of industries were adopting the open office concept.

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      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.

      Recently featured in the New York Times & CNBC, we set out with a mission to improve chaotic working environments and improve worker health with uniquely quiet office pods.

      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.

      office pods

      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.

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      Zenbooth office pods are a unique and modern solution that enables you to provide quiet, distraction-free workspaces at your company. 

      Built for between one and six people to work free from noise and visual disruptions, Zenbooths are flexible enough to be for private 1v1 calls or group meetings.

      Below, we've listed 17 ways an office pod can upgrade your workspace, from health to utility. For questions about shipping or discounts, get in touch with us here. 

      1. Lower the stress & anxiety of your workers

      Working in an open plan office is known to increase the stress levels of employees, particularly those who are introverts.

      For folks who work best alone in a quiet environment, trying to concentrate in the hustle and bustle of an open office can be extremely daunting.

      Lack of privacy can also cause anxiety for individuals who are constantly worrying that what they’re doing can be seen at all times by a manager. 

      Some people just need a break from having to constantly interact with coworkers all day. For these individuals, an indoor office pod provides a convenient retreat where they can work in peace and privacy for as long as they need to.

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      As preconceptions about what an office or other workspaces ‘should’ look like continue to disappear, we are seeing some of the most innovative and exciting design trends in workplace history. 

      The rise of the open space office may have been the largest turning point, giving architects and desires a nearly blank canvas with which to work.

      Today, the driving force behind many trends is not as much what the office space looks like, but rather how it can best be used. The goal is to help employees work as efficiently as possible while supporting their health & well-being. 

      After all, a happy employee is a hard-working one! 

      Some of these trends may seem unusual or even counter-intuitive. But considering the positive employee feedback and mounting evidence through studies, the following office design trends are definitely some that your company should consider implementing.

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      Office phone booths & office pods can be valuable additions to your work space. They create an area where employees can focus on intense tasks, take private phone calls and decompress.

      Each model is a worthwhile investment when factoring in the improvement it makes to your staff's overall productivity & health. 

      You may not know enough about these relatively new products to make a purchasing decision.

      What kind of privacy booth should you buy and how will you know if it's durable, eco-friendly and safe? More importantly, what's the pricing like?

      There’s no need to spend hours on research - we’ve got all of the details right here.

      First - The Benefits of Office Phone Booths & Office Pods

      Let’s start with a quick overview of why you should be investing in these soundproof booths for your office quiet space.

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      Every organization recognizes that employee productivity and efficiency are instrumental to their bottom line. Studies suggest that the nature of activity-based working (ABW) can improve both of these important metrics as well as:

      • Employee satisfaction
      • Usage of office space
      • Operational cost reductions 

      So why hasn't your company adopted an ABW floor plan?

      Interestingly, the concept of ABW has actually existed for decades. But only in recent years have the advantages of ABW over traditional office settings - and even open office design - been more closely studied. 

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      The traditional "Open Workspace," featuring spacious workrooms packed with uniform rows of desks, is a lasting artifact of the 1950’s.

      The technique served its role in the days of one-size-fits-all uniformity, boasting an environment that promoted (in theory) face-to-face collaboration. Experts believed that people working in close proximity tend to exchange ideas and responsibilities freely - more freely than workers in isolated offices. 

      A spur of the moment concept can be discussed democratically, rather than saved for the boardroom. The business benefits from the teamwork mentality that pervades the workplace, and the design itself avoids the costs of partitioning the office into individual spaces.

      Made popular by tech firms like Google, open work spaces seemed to be the new industry standard and was embraced by many. The latest workplace design trends, however, prove that this concept is not the final word in office layout. 

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      Technology and increased connectivity have been the drivers of massive changes workplace layout, regardless of industry or location. 

      Keeping abreast of these improvements can help an organization dominate, but to truly outclass the competition, they need to know how to implement the right office design trends. 

      Thanks to the increased flexibility technology has given us, the ultimate workspace should be adaptable. It should give employees the ability to work to their full potential in an environment that is comfortable and makes each and every one of their tasks easier. 

      Truly cutting edge companies have quietly been revolutionizing the idea of office furniture for some time. Here are some of the most effective furniture trends that your company should be using.

      Modern Office Furniture With Added Tech

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      If you work in an open office, you probably wonder why they were ever created in the first place. While this common office layout was a fad decades ago, its popularity has waned, primarily because short-term savings have been demonstrably overshadowed by huge negatives related to productivity and stress. 

      Here are some facts about open office environments, along with a solution that works for nearly any workspace. If your business is experiencing the downside of open office designs, all is not lost!

      Problems with Open Office Environments

      The problems with open office spaces are myriad, all of which ultimately affect a company’s bottom line. To start with, open offices, including most cubicle spaces, afford workers no privacy. While bosses may not be sympathetic to employees who want to talk to their doctor or babysitter without being overheard, they should think about other issues related to having no sense of personal space. 

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      At a busy company, an office quiet space for meetings and confidential phone calls can be hard to find. The sounds of other employees making calls, typing and consulting with one another can prevent you from focusing on intense tasks.

      Indoor office pods or work booths provide private, quiet spaces that minimize distractions. You can have a meeting or make a confidential phone call without leaving the office or looking for a private area in a hallway or bathroom. You can also use it as a place to escape when you're feeling overwhelmed. 

      An Indoor Office Pod Sizes for Every Use

      Office pods are available in sizes that can accommodate from one to four people. Maybe you need a quiet space where an individual employee can work without distraction.

      Perhaps management needs a room for confidential meetings with employees or conferences with clients. Whether you are a small startup or an established corporation, a booth that is the right size for your business needs can make the workday more convenient and less stressful.

      The Failure of the Open Office Concept

      At first glance, an open office plan appears to promote collaboration and communication among employees. To conduct a meeting, you simply turn around and talk to the coworker next to you. However, you may have to leave the office to hold a meeting or make a phone call that involves sensitive information. The constant activity, interruptions and distractions of an open office plan can decrease productivity, increase stress and hurt employee morale.

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      In most office jobs, there will inevitably be times where some chatty or loud coworkers are being too noisy. It can be especially hard to deal with if you're in an open office, spelling bad news for your productivity as well as employee harmony. 

      Need some help keeping out all that excess noise? Here are 7 ways to keep the things quiet at work so your performance doesn't have to suffer.

      1. Fill your ears instead

      A recent study by Oxford Economics stated that in noisy open offices, only one percent of employees can successfully block out noise and other distractions by themselves. 

      Here's where music, a white noise machine, or just plain silence can come in. Use noise-canceling earbuds with isolation for the music. Keep the volume of music or white noise low -- enough to distract you, but not enough to risk hearing loss. 

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      Water cooler chat is a fun way to bond with coworkers. But overly talkative colleagues can get on your nerves, especially if you're on the clock or in an office where low volume is needed to concentrate. 

      It's even tougher in an open office where most of the time there are no sound barriers. 

      If you have coworkers who don't know when to call it quits, these 5 tips could help you take back your peace of mind. 

      1. Just talk to them

      If your coworkers are regularly interrupting you or delaying you in your work, it's time to say something. Simply tell them politely you need some peace and quiet and ask them to keep the volume down. 

      They might not be aware they are being too loud, and most coworkers will lower their voices when told they are.

      How can you tell them as tactfully as possible? Don't

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      Some types of personalities are drawn to their polar opposites, like the opposing charges of a magnet. There’s nothing more frustrating than having that one person in your office you have the least in common with becoming your self-proclaimed “best friend.” When that person is also the office chatterbox, it can really get in the way of your productivity. 

      Short of calling in sick, what can you do to cut off the chatter and get back to work?

      The good news is that you have some strategies that can help without turning the entire office staff against you. Give the following 5 tips a try!

      1. Have a One-on-One Meeting

      As annoying and disruptive as a coworkers constant talking is, they don't realize the impact it’s having on you. Some people talk out of nervousness, boredom, or even insecurity. Simply calling attention to the issue might be enough to stop it.

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      Most companies in expensive real estate markets are finding ways to do more with less space. This includes partitionless offices which have become very common. 

      An open office sounds like a good way for employees to share workspace without adding cubicles or walls. But if you work in an open office, you probably know that the reality falls short of the utopia everyone had hoped for.

      One thing employers often overlook is the noise that these office plans create. The combination of people talking, using office machinery, making phone calls, singing, playing music, and walking around adds up to a lot of distraction. 

      Employees who need to focus on their work find it very challenging to get anything done. If you need to turn your open office space into a quieter, more peaceful place to work, the following products can help.

      1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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      Office design is achieving new heights, from coworking spaces to office pods. Now, the concept of the "agile office" is all the buzz - a flexible and productive work environment with different activity spaces. 

      But how exactly is it conducive to better staff productivity & happiness? Here's a look at why building agile offices is essential for your employees.

      Physical Freedom

      Physical freedom is the most important principle of an agile workspace. No longer are employees confined to sitting for hours to work at desks or in front of computers, experiencing physical strain, fatigue and boredom. 

      The open office is the foundation that allows for standing, walking or sitting while still having desks and computers available for employees when they need them.

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      If you manage or own a business that uses an open office layout, you may be wondering "What's the best furniture for our work environment?" 

      Perhaps you’ve recently relocated the office or want a bit of an upgrade.

      Here are some tips to help you find the best furniture for open offices, both for collaborative functions and for privacy and noise reduction.

      Office Furniture for Employee Collaboration

      The main reason most businesses use open office formats is that they hope it will improve employee collaboration and make work easier. In some instances, this works, but there are downsides.

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      Believe it or not, the open office was in vogue before cubicles. With it came the constant noise and lack of privacy that results from having no barriers or partitions. 

      Cubicles were the remedy to the open office, but with their own drawbacks: a lack of sunlight and the drabness of grey cubicle walls became associated with communication problems between employees that would lead to unstable businesses. 

      Open offices made a comeback two decades ago for startups who wanted to participate in the new business model, with some company CEOs not even having private offices. It was an attempt to bring employees together for collaboration and offered a modern design with an affordable upfront cost. 

      The popular belief was that the chaos would be positive and promote creativity. But new does not necessarily mean effective. Research has found that employees in such spaces experience negative effects on their well-being and productivity. 

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      Office furniture has evolved tremendously over the last couple of decades, advancing in technology & catering more to workers than ever before. 

      Here are seven of the best modern office furniture ideas, many of which you may be able to put to use at your company. 

      Standing Desks

      Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking.” Maybe sitting isn’t quite as bad as a nicotine habit, but we know it’s not healthy for workers hour after hour without a break.

      Standing desks allow employees to get a rest from sitting by working on their feet, which stretches muscles and changes circulation. Standing desks should be adjustable to accommodate workers of all heights equally without ergonomic issues.

      When transitioning staff to standing desks, do it gradually so people who are used to sitting don’t get sore. Use comfort mats underneath their feet, and make standing desks optional rather than mandatory. Some people may still prefer to sit.

      Partner Desks

      Partner desks have been around since the 19th Century, similar to rolling office chairs, and were long favored by architects and draftsmen who shared work and ideas throughout the day. Now they are popular with branding and writing teams, as well as other

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