Open-plan offices have become the norm in the UK and worldwide, and although they facilitate collaboration and communication, they can sometimes raise questions about privacy and the ability to have sensitive conversations.
Luckily, there are some simple ways to create privacy for employees in open-plan office environments, without losing the benefits of ease of movement, versatile seating plans and flexibility for individuals who only work from the office for some of the time.
Here are some of the best ways to create privacy for employees at their desk, in ad hoc meetings and when making private phone calls.
Office pods give you instant privacy by enclosing a desk or meeting space with acoustic shields. This reduces the transmission of sound to the surrounding area and provides a visual barrier to passers-by too.
Work pods and booths have other benefits too. As well as protecting privacy, they can give workers the space they need to concentrate on a challenging or time-consuming task. Employees face fewer distractions than in a large open-plan space, ensuring productivity and the quality of their work are optimised.
Acoustic pods are not just for individual workstations. They can also provide a shielded area in which groups of colleagues can meet to discuss projects, problems, or anything else that needs their attention.
Depending on the size of your team, you might want to consider installing larger meeting pods. These can accommodate groups – in the case of Magna Extra Large Meeting Pods, up to eight people at a time – while serving as comfortable breakout spaces when not in use for meetings.
Office phone booths are a fantastic way to allow private phone calls to take place without the risk of eavesdropping. That’s not to say that any of your employees would listen in intentionally, but keeping calls separate from the rest of your office is a sensible precaution.
Modern office phone booths don’t have to be boxy. Even a low acoustic surround can shield conversations from people nearby, such as on our Brix 61 Solo Work Booth. It’s all about meeting the needs of your workforce, while providing them with comfortable, usable spaces for private discussions and phone calls.
You might not need 100% privacy or total soundproofing in order to reduce the risk of calls and conversations being overheard. High-back sofas are a great way to break up the transmission of sound, without completely enclosing your employees.
If you prefer to leave your acoustic pods open to the rest of the office, you might want to place them slightly further away from the busiest areas, where there is less chance of individuals in either area disturbing their colleagues.
You might not need 360-degree privacy. In some cases, it can be appropriate for a meeting booth to open on to the team’s work area, while being shielded from the rest of the office for security reasons, or just to avoid distracting co-workers.
Meeting pods with an acoustic surround can be orientated to provide maximum privacy in the desired direction, with ease of access to the seating area they serve, creating a best of both worlds solution in busy offices.
Our work pods and booths are designed to be as versatile as possible, with comfortable seating, optional mains electricity outlets and a range of built-in desks to choose from. All of this adds up to privacy with flexibility for your entire workforce.
Why does this matter? It gives your employees and managers options. Conversations can take place in surroundings that meet the privacy needs on the day. If a discussion is more sensitive, it can move inside a fully enclosed acoustic pod. This means you can rest assured that you have catered for your workforce privacy needs.
Traditional square-footprint booths with straight vertical sides are among the most space-saving and standing phone booths work well as part of the modern sit-stand office trend, allowing employees to stretch their legs while on a call.
Performance acoustic insulation materials mean pods and booths can be placed close to each other, with little to no audio leakage between adjacent pods, depending on which booth design you choose.
To find out more about any of our acoustic pods, work booths, meeting pods and office phone booths, please get in touch today and we will be happy to discuss your privacy needs.