The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way we work. Alternating between working from home and office, employees need to adapt to new working norms and the stress of it can be overwhelming for some. Since remote working became a new normal for a period of time, offices have to accommodate to flexible work arrangements. This can become an opportunity for a transformation of the office workspace, in a world where there is an increasing need for privacy. Open offices can be a minefield for distractions and there is a trend towards self-contained enclosures for privacy and better focus, which make soundproof office pods become an increasingly popular option.
The need for Privacy in the Office
Research has found that people in open offices have greater unhappiness, more stress and are less productive. Contrary to the main purpose that open offices were set out for, for a more collaborative environment, a study by Harvard Business School found that open offices reduce face-to-face interaction by 70% and increase email and messaging by 50%.
Not only that, open offices can be distracting. Chattering, ringing of phones, typing on keyboards, all of which can make it difficult for employees to focus. Absolute silence is essential for productivity. In fact, people who work in open offices reported a decrease in performance and deterioration in perceived health. Another study by the Queensland University of Technology found that 90% of employees who work in open offices experience increased stress levels, conflict, blood pressure and turnover rates.
Also, if employees encounter a difficult co-worker, without physical barriers between each other, the employee may feel vulnerable and stressed out. They may also be on the lookout to see if the co-worker is listening in on to their conversations. Therefore, open office plans can lead to distrust and make employees more vulnerable to workplace harassment.
Soundproof Office Pods
As more realise that open offices are not the most ideal work environment, office phone booths are increasingly in demand to solve the problems posed by open offices. Caitlin Turner, a designer at HoK, which is a global design and urban planning firm, said that there is a large trend shifting towards having an “independent, self-contained enclosure” as a result of employees needing more privacy at work.
Soundproof office pods are booths that serve as a quiet space for employees to focus on their work, free from distractions in the office. They allow employees the privacy they need.
Adding on to that, every person has their threshold for the level of “people exposure”- how long they can be with people before needing individual time. Working from home further lowers that level because they can be so used to working alone that they get tired of being around other people so much, once they return to the office. The private pods therefore allow employees to take a break should they need alone time to think, recharge and to rest at work. They are usually minimalist in design with key furniture, charging outlets and soundproofed walls, offering a break from togetherness at work.
While employers may be aware of the limitations of an open office, it can be difficult to do an overhaul of the office design due to limitations in time and budget. The great thing about office phone booths or privacy pods, is that they are extremely convenient to install and to set up. This is compared to constructing a walled office or installing office cubicles which takes a few months to install. Furthermore, adding a traditional office can cost US$65 to US$125 per square foot, significantly pricier than privacy booths.
New Normal in the Office
Office pods are the way to go in a world where privacy is an important for workplace satisfaction. By installing office pods, employers are giving their employees more options to choose from to work at showing that the they care for their wellbeing and privacy. Employees will find themselves being able to better focus, hence increasing productivity while lowering stress levels. Quiet spaces are crucial more than ever, especially after working from home for the past two years where employees are used to working alone at home.
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.