Current research into the misinterpretation and misapplication of Frank Lloyd Wright’s open office plan has companies scrambling to adopt new equipment to address its downsides.
Additionally, studies showing how open-plan office setups can negatively impact worker productivity, creativity, and focus. The result has been a new demand for flexible workstations.
Studies about open offices have also established how proponents of this style failed when assuming it would foster greater collaboration & personal interaction. It turns out not many workers felt like communicating with each other was a huge obstacle to begin with.
The biggest problems workers are facing is with excessive noise and distractions. At company's where there is no private space, these are impossible to avoid.
Businesses have had to find a way to fix these issues without necessarily giving up the benefits of a cubicle-less workspace (better lighting, cost efficiency, and flexibility).
What they needed was to be able to integrate unobtrusive and quiet spaces. This way, people wanting some peace and privacy and could easily find it.
Enter the individual / solo office pod.
Employees can focus on work without interruptions. They can take phone calls, hold video conferences, and conduct private meetings.
These products are a convenient solution as they provide the private spaces employees need without necessitating any service interruption. Moreover, the installation of prefabricated phone pods does away with the need to invest in a DIY project (that could end up failing) or hiring a contractor.
The installation process is also quicker so it’s no longer necessary to spend more time (and money) on renovation work.
However, companies wanting to adopt individual office pods as part of their office layout also need to be wary of cheap alternatives. Below are five disadvantages of buying cheaper knockoffs, which can leave you with buyer’s remorse rather than an ultra-practical piece of office furniture.
1. Cheap individual work pods have poor acoustics
One of the primary requirements for focused and quiet work is filtering out noise. Your work booths need to be soundproof to cut down the office racket and provide users privacy.
So if you are interested in buying specific brands of pods solely because they are cheaper, make sure you try them out first.
You also need to ask the manufacturer about how they check for soundproofing, and exactly how many decibels each unit can effectively block.
2. Lack of portability and flexibility
It’s easy for any manufacturer to claim that their booths are portable. This is especially true for cheaper brands who sometimes use vague marketing jargon to mislead buyers.
Some say their units are portable when their units actually need to be dismantled first before they can be moved elsewhere, and then reassembled.
Therefore, buyers need to determine if the portability being claimed by the manufacturer means the units are in fact easy to move when required.
Moreover, let’s say they technically can be moved, but can they be relocated without the need for professional assistance or special equipment? Some of the cheaper varieties easily weigh between 770 and 1100 pounds—which means they're not really lightweight and portable at all.
When it comes to flexibility, do the units in question feature standing desk or height-adjustable desk options? Cheaper alternatives usually don’t, and for those that do, you need to factor in the reliability and durability of the unit.
3. Substandard structural and design components
Manufacturers of office phone booths offer alternatives designed to work with specific office setups. There are units created for single worker use, as well as meeting pods large enough to accommodate small groups anywhere from two to four people.
Some brands like Zenbooth provide more spacious options that can comfortably house six occupants. All this is great especially if you need units for group meetings or brainstorming sessions.
Beyond these, however, cheaper-priced units may have structural issues not readily apparent to casual onlookers.
For example, is the door sturdily built? Is it easy to open and close? Does it obstruct surrounding space in any way? For larger booths, does the door still facilitate easy entry and exit for multiple occupants?
Aside from asking these questions, you also need to check for connectivity, lighting and ventilation as well as energy-saving features. For example, is each unit equipped with electrical outlets, as well as USB and data ports?
Is lighting from outside maximized, or does the unit require separate lighting fixtures? How about the temperature inside? Does it get toasty when you close the unit, or is the temperature set just right?
4. Cheap office pods are not eco-friendly
If your company works around the concept of sustainability or upholds eco-consciousness as a key value, you need to look into whether or not the office pod manufacturer does the same.
Sadly, low cost alternatives usually have very little or no features that reflect eco-friendly consciousness.
To ascertain this, you need to find out how and where the materials aree sourced. You also need to take into account the total environmental footprint of each unit, especially for imported products. Shipping across oceans causes air, water and oil pollution.
5. No guarantee of workmanship
Manufacturers that offer a substantial or lengthy warranty period are usually those who are confident that their products can deliver what they promise.
However, you should be wary of manufacturers that try to reassure you that you can always return defective units and get them replaced. This is the selling point in place of an actual warranty.
These providers are usually the ones that produce low-quality products.
Just because a potential supplier tries to assuage your fears by promising the quick and easy replacement of defective units, you shouldn't necessarily take the bargain they are offering.
Without a good warranty, there's no guarantee they'll act upon their word if you run into a problem.
Avoid buyer’s remorse
Cheap or low-cost alternatives are not affordable in the long run.
Substandard materials can mean eventual breakdowns and faster wear and tear. And even with the assurance of replacements, you need to factor in the time and effort required to get rid of a worn or defective unit and install a new one.
You should also consider the frustration that comes with any work interruption or delay related to poorly-constructed workstations.
Work better with Zenbooth
For businesses searching for reliable manufacturers with an excellent track record in the office pod product segment, Zenbooth is a clear winner.
What you get with Zenbooths are sturdy yet lightweight (starting from under 500 pounds) office pods and meeting rooms. Zenbooths are fitted with all the features your staff need to be able to work with ease and total concentration.
Lighting and ventilation as well as comfort and the need for connectivity are elements readily integrated into each Zenbooth.
Our products come in different models for individual and small group users. Our Comfort Booth (good for single users) and Executive Booth XL (which can fit two to four persons) feature an adjustable desk option as well.
All of our products are made in America, and we use locally-sourced wood from both sustainable and recycled materials. Aside from being competitively-priced, Zenbooths come with a three-year warranty, as well as a money-back guarantee.