The open-plan office is here to stay. In fact, around 73% of employees in the UK now work in some form of open-plan office, according to data from Savills. Open plan offices are cost effective, can foster a sense of community in the workplace and will allow employers to provide flexible working spaces in a post-pandemic world.
On the other side of the coin, however, lies a whole host of issues around concentration, productivity and of course privacy. A recent study conducted by Bospar cited the main reasons why employees in the US do not recommend open offices as being a lack of privacy (43%), noise due to personal conversations (34%), poor concentration (29%) and risk of sensitive data leakage (23%.)
So how can employers solve the need for providing a private space without building additional meeting rooms? Office phone booths, also referred to as acoustic phone pods or quiet booths, can provide a secluded and private space for making calls, taking meetings and even working.
Making phone calls and conducting video meetings is a part of office working life that is both essential and disruptive. Studies have shown that if you are working on something that demands concentration, if you are exposed to speech that is intelligible (i.e., your office neighbours’ sales calls) you can see performance levels drop by as much as 10% . This is not a figure companies can afford to ignore.
The good news is that if you cannot fully hear the words of that conversation, your productivity remains unaffected. This means that acoustic office phone pods which muffle calls could provide enough protection to reduce the impact of these calls, whilst allowing your team to get on with their work.
Whether it’s a discussion about sensitive data or a confidential call, offices should provide a space where its employees feel they can conduct a conversation without being overheard by co-workers. Whilst phone booths don’t offer a fully soundproof experience, many models provide enough acoustic protection to allow you to conduct these sensitive discussions privately.
Adding an acoustic booth can also work as an attractive feature for co-working spaces and other communal working situations where users may not want their personal business overheard by strangers.
Open-plan offices can often see a variety of teams and departments with different routines and needs thrown together into one space. Add to that a steep rise in virtual meetings, hot desking and flexible working hours and you have a potential recipe for a bustling workplace.
Whilst some individuals thrive on this energy, others such as those who are more introverted and/ or suffer with some form of anxiety, can feel highly stressed by the situation. Alongside this there will be times when any employee needs to find a quiet space to put their head down and work on something that requires a high level of concentration.
Acoustic pods and phone booths alone are not a complete solution for this issue, but they can contribute as part of a wider plan to create a healthier working environment. Providing an oasis of calm in a bustling work environment, they can allow employees to take a moment to conduct calls, meetings, and even work in a more private setting with reduced distractions.
On this note, office booths are not just designed for making calls. Many models come with a variety of options for seating, desk space and plugs, meaning you can create a small working space which is ideal for focused work or study time. This flexibility adds value to an acoustic pod and may mean it is used more heavily by employees.
Lismark stocks a selection of pods, from fully enclosed glass phone booths to individual working booths. View our range of office phone booths here or get in touch to discuss options for your office or to get a quote.