The open office debate has been raging for some time, but open offices are here to stay, where we like it or not. Open office design is promoted as the platform for communication and collaboration among employees. But with an open office concept, privacy and noise issues can make the workplace stressful.
Today’s workplace is more open than ever. Most offices have fewer walls and more open areas, shared spaces and facilities. This has led to a privacy crisis among the employees. Can an open office still respect privacy in the workplace and maintain boundaries between workers? Can tools such as a modesty panel ease the tension? Why do we need privacy in the office? Let’s dive right in.
Why is Privacy important to all of us?
We, the people irrespective of our race, country, age or personalities, need privacy in some way or the other in our daily lives. The lack of personal privacy can affect our expression, mood and thought process. At the workplace, it can hinder a working person’s sense of autonomy, giving them less control over their working environment, and causing their productivity to suffer. In some cases, it can also have a negative influence on an employee’s morale. Research shows that for any worker to utilize his/her full potential, the workspace has to create a suitably comfortable environment.
What lack of privacy can lead to?
- Noise affects Concentration
Noise is one of the most common causes by which productivity and performance of office workers are affected. For this reason, it is important to detect the reasons for high noise levels that may be affecting the concentration of your employees and find a solution.
- Uncomfortable employees
The discomforts and distractions caused by the lack of visual and spatial privacy can lead many workers to experience feelings of discomfort, anger and dislike for the work environment which will have a negative impact on their work.
- Information and data leak
With deficient privacy, there is a risk of leaking private information and using it in a way that does not suit the interests of the company. In the case of workspaces, the lack of privacy is a threat when a call is being made or business is being closed and disclosing information to other people.
- Collective noise
Collaboration is of prime importance to any business but keeping collaborative zones in small spaces can be counterproductive and reach the point of reducing the concentration and production capacity, not of an employee but of the entire area.
How can we create privacy in an open office?
- Choose the right materials
Choosing the materials to use in an office space is imperative. Soft materials can help absorb sound waves and prevent discussions or noisy distractions from moving throughout the office. Adjusting the panel height between workstations to be above the user’s seated line of sight, can provide significantly more auditory and visual privacy.
Check out Hyle series.
- Acoustic panels
Acoustic panels are made of soft PET material that is hung vertically to help absorb sound waves. The large surface area provides more space for the sound waves to come in contact with a soft surface. Basic acoustic panels will get the job done, but there are higher-end options that are more stylish, sleek, and modern.
- Set times for focus work
There are some tasks that are better accomplished with quiet concentration. Set hours for people to stay at their desks and not approach other team members with questions or requests.
- Quiet Rooms
Create designated spaces that are reserved for quiet or individual work. If you have small conference rooms, they could be perfect for phone meetings or employees who need to work alone for a period of time. If you don’t have any of those spaces, a semi-private space or partitioned-off space could work.
- Collaborative spaces
Set up spaces that are meant specifically for employees who are looking to collaborate, brainstorm or work on a team project. This space should be created at a distance from workstation areas. This can allow your other team members the opportunity to work at least semi quietly and privately at their own desks.
- Agile furniture
Even something as simple as mobile furniture can allow for greater privacy in an open office. When people are working on a project together, they can move their chairs and tables to one area where they’re unlikely to cause disturbance to others.
Check out Mandic moveable furniture.
- Furniture for visual privacy
Furniture can offer another way of creating private space in an open environment. Choose a Sofa which boasts of a comfortable seat and high, flexible side and back panels to create privacy and retreat in an office – perfect for a private, two-person meeting or a phone call.
Check out Flower Sofa.
There are many different variables that make up a productive workplace. Providing workers with the proper privacy they need in order to do their jobs is a small price to pay for a successful, happy working office that can still be interactive and collaborative. Employers can create a balance between privacy and collaboration, in order to create a successful open office environment.
Do visit our website to learn more about the office furniture solutions for high-performing workspaces.