Singapore is moving towards living with COVID-19. The latest restrictions stipulate that staff must be fully inoculated to return to work by 1 Jan 2022. The transition from working from home as a default, to working in the office will see some teething problems. Adjustments must be made as employees adapt to the changes. This is when soundproof office pods comes in.
An online survey conducted by Ipsos, between May and June 2021, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, has found that the average number of days that employees prefer to work from home is 3 out of the 5 average working days in a week. Singaporeans strongly prefer flexibility- 7 in 10 want employers to allow workers to have a hybrid work schedule. While working from home has its benefits, working in the office is important in increasing efficiency at work through in-person team time. The Harvard Business Review foresees that the office will serve as a “culture space” to encourage learning, connection, team-building and collaboration.
To reduce teething problems, the use of office spaces will need to be reconsidered to support the needs of the employees.
Working from home has revealed the need for offices more so than before. Studies have shown that frequent in-person interactions are crucial to build trust between co-workers, fostering better teamwork and hence increased productivity.
Additionally, real-life insight can help new employees to learn better. New employees who have just joined the company would prefer learning the proper way to behave and interact with stakeholders from observing their supervisors.
However, with social distancing measures, moving around freely in the office for discussions can prove challenging. Having an office privacy booth or a soundproof office pods on the other hand, may help. Team members may call for meetings and gather in the office privacy booth or the soundproof office pods, rather than sending out multiple emails back and forth, while abiding by the safe distancing rules and reducing unnecessary movement across the entire office.
Furthermore, discussions are kept private in soundproof office pods which would be helpful for private meetings, such as in cases where workplace mentors have to give detailed guidance and feedback to their mentees. With a private booth, they can do so without being conscious about other employers listening in unintentionally.
Working in the office while abiding by social distancing rules mean organisations may have to reduce workplace density. However, this could mean a drop in productivity if organisations are not well-prepared. For example, a European home-appliance group had divided employees at the headquarters into two cohorts. Each cohort came in on two different days of the week but after a few months, a number of projects had slipped off the schedule as many of the people involved came in on different days. This points to a need for regular, effective touchpoints.
For those who are scheduled to come to the office to work, they will need a private space to gather or to hold frequent conference calls with those who are working from home to ensure tight communication. This could mean more private spaces in the office would be needed for employees to speak up freely during conference calls.
Workplaces, especially open space offices, can consider investing in acoustic pods for offices.
Acoustic pods for offices are a great way to facilitate conference calls without having to permanently transform office spaces at a relatively lower cost. When COVID-19 ends, offices can choose to remove the pods, which can be disassembled easily. This allows open offices to strike a balance between openness and privacy.
Once employees return to the office, there is a chance that employees may feel the need to be in meetings or to be on their computers frequently with less working privacy since every move they make, can be seen by other colleagues beside or across their work desk. However, this would mean the positive outcomes from working from home would be lost. Offices can therefore consider in investing in privacy pods for employees to have more working privacy for the wellbeing of the employees.
With COVID-19 restrictions, employees can consider reconfiguring their offices to ensure that the workspace is well designed for the needs of the employees.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to buy or rent an office phone booth or office pod in your office or home.