Private Pods are increasingly popular as a result of flexible office and remote work arrangements. The use of private pods or acoustic pods for offices is transforming the traditional office space with more shared desk areas, small meeting spaces and focus areas. Office desk pods or modern phone booths give employees more comfort and privacy with a soundproof environment. Furthermore, private pods and mini office pods help companies save costs for renovation and construction and allows them the flexibility to transform their office since they are very easy to install or remove according to the needs of the employees. Since private pods have become more popular, they have transformed the office space, office culture and altered office layouts. Now, many companies are bidding the old cubicle style and open office goodbye and welcoming office pods to maximise employee satisfaction and productivity.
Transformation in the Office Culture and the Impact on Employees
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, activity-based working was gaining popularity and employers were also giving their employees more options to decide how they wish to interface with the work environment. This is because it has been found that giving employees the autonomy to make changes to their everyday environment and atmosphere- even if it were just being able to control the lighting or the air conditioner- resulted in measurable boosts to employee satisfaction.
Nowadays, it is increasingly common to see offices invest in multiple work pods to boost and encourage collaboration between employees. The modern phone booths also give employees the choice to work in whatever space they feel most comfortable in in the office, whether it is an enclosed space in the booth or an open workspace in the rest of the office. Flexibility and choice have become two non-negotiables for a growing number of employees in order for them to be enticed back to the office. In a survey from CBRE, it was found that 83 percent of respondents see that the workplace is a place to foster collaboration and to boost team productivity. Flexibility is important too- a survey report from Hub Australia and WORKTECH Academy has found that 56 percent of workers would consider switching employers if increased flexibility is not an option. In fact, 72 percent of respondents have already implemented changes to their remote working procedures on their own, said Trevor Boddy, CBRE’s senior director of office leasing.
Therefore, companies will need to balance and research how to create workspace that provide a greater degree of flexibility while maintaining a culture of in-person collaboration, which is where acoustic pods come into play. Office pods not only give employees the flexibility to choose where they want to work, but they are also effective in fostering in-person collaboration and for productive meetings. This is because of the office pod’s sound cancelling ability to allow employees to focus and have a quiet environment for meetings. For those who have to connect with employees working remotely, they can retreat into the office pods to do so since the pods help decrease background noise. This will allow employees to have professional sounding video and phone calls while having their own privacy, free from distractions. It also has the additional bonus of providing a physical barrier and social distancing between colleagues.
Offices with multiple private pods can see a change in the office culture through increased collaboration between colleagues while increasing productivity. Employee satisfaction may increase because of the increased privacy and a quieter working environment- employees need not worry too much that what they are doing can be seen at all times by their managers. Offices that adopted an open plan may see employees experiencing higher stress levels, especially those who are introverts and those who struggle to concentrate in the hustle and bustle of an open office. Private booths on the other hand allow employees to work in peace and privacy for as long as they need to. Providing a distraction-free workspace is extremely important for high-performance employees with 58 percent of them saying they need more private spaces for uninterrupted thinking. Workplaces with distractions can be detrimental for employee productivity as it takes up to 25 minutes to focus back again after an interruption. Employees can therefore work in the main office space for tasks that do not require a lot of concentration and use the office pods when they need to complete tasks.
Transformation in the Office Space and Layouts
Now, offices are increasingly turning to office desk pods or modern phone booths because they represent a literal, physical expression of diversity by allowing for privacy and quiet in open office arrangements. They are not only easy to reconfigure and move about the office wherever employers want and whenever they want to, but these acoustic pods also come with a suite of amenities and fixtures. This is especially relevant in today’s reality of a mobile workforce where traditional footprints no longer apply in our pandemic-aware environment.
Rather than an open office or large private offices, many employees are exploring the idea of smaller, more transformable spaces to suit a variety of needs. Office desk pods and private pods are very compelling because they can easily complement diverse floor plans. Since they occupy less space, they are easily transformable into a meeting room, or a place for interpersonal connections for a small group of people, a private space to take a break in or to have phonecalls in. These private pods give employees the ability to focus and much needed privacy.
Since Covid-19 struck and remote working became the norm, businesses and building owners have had to improve workspaces, stand out from competition and improve employee retention. Trevor Boddy says that the challenge is to create “dynamic, safe and connected spaces that staff choose to come to, not because they are told to but because they want to”. Hence, hybrid work spaces such as office pods are here to stay, with more collaborative zones and breakout areas.
Instead of spending excessively on office renovations, office pods help employers to save costs by maximises square footage. Along with significant cost savings for employers, private pods provide a peace of mind for the employees returning to the office to work while incentivising them by giving them more options to choose from to work.