Over the past decade, the “open-plan office” has been very popular. In addition to saving money, it minimizes the use of enclosed private offices in favor of large, wall-less open spaces where workers can easily collaborate and be more productive.
Recent studies show that 95% of workers find this design disruptive and want quiet and privacy back. Unhappy employees are not productive. Consider office cubicles in Philadelphia before you decide how to best accommodate your workforce.
A 2013 study by the Journal of Environmental Psychology concluded that the “benefits of enhanced ‘ease of interaction’ were smaller than the penalties of increased noise level and decreased privacy resulting from open-plan office configuration.” So, what are workers’ primary complaints?
- Loss of privacy – Should you need to hide in a stairwell to take a personal phone call? Maybe you need to make a doctor’s appointment or handle a delicate client negotiation. In an open-plan office, everyone can hear every conversation about everything. Lack of privacy is the number one source of workplace dissatisfaction. Private offices and cubicles offer an escape from the prying eyes and ears of coworkers.
- Noise – The endless hubbub in most open-plan offices – laughing, coughing, phones ringing, loud phone talking, noisy keyboards, printer trays slamming, staplers pounding – drives workers mad. The constant, disruptive noise makes it hard to focus. Even without visual privacy (glass walls), being able to close a door and shut out the noise makes for happier workers.
How Office Cubicles Can Help
Modern office cubicles offer unlimited solutions if you can think outside the box. The flexibility in styles, colors and configurations has changed to make workspaces more user-friendly, and give employees a more comfortable and healthier place to work.
There are new architectural glass products and acoustic door systems available today that provide maximum noise reduction and privacy in a cubicle environment. Think frosted glass and exterior graphics. Think interior privacy blinds. Frame and tile systems, such as those offered by industry leading Herman Miller, offer clear and translucent window tiles and privacy doors for open and functional, yet private, office spaces.
If you want a happy medium between privacy and collaboration, cubicles can be designed with common area tables, shared meeting spaces and multiple seating configurations. Gathering areas can be configured where workers can hold informal meetings, chat with colleagues, or plop down with a laptop. Specific workstations can be dedicated to online videoconferencing, with a satellite connection to the world. That way, employees who are working together on a project can have a quick video chat when phones and email won’t quite do.
An endless arrangement of wall-less designs and open-seating may no longer measure up against your primary goal of getting work done. Don’t force your employees to outline their own imaginary “walls” on the floor with masking tape like Les Nessman, in the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, just to get the privacy they crave. Help them become more efficient and focused. When you’re in the market for innovative office cubicles in Philadelphia, check out the online catalog of a company like EthoSource for design ideas.