Open offices have long been considered one of the most radical shifts in how we work. Since the companies that openly embraced the open-office culture have risen to gargantuan heights, there is a survivorship bias that tells people that open offices help in building successful businesses.
If you ask the advocates of the trend, they will tell you that the modern workplace is more about collaboration than about owning your ‘spot’.
The underlying principle behind this argument is valid. But the employees who have been forced into open office arrangements and hot-desks often have a long set of issues:
- There is a sense of uncertainty: You don’t know where will you sit for the day. You don’t know who will you work with for the day.
- You lose a sense of ownership: You don’t have a desk that you can call ‘yours’. So, forget about putting your family’s photos, décor or even important papers in one place.
- No sense of privacy: You cannot expect to have privacy at work if you don’t even know where will you sit for the day.
- The interruptions: There is constant noise in the office as everyone is trying to find the right place to sit and then getting accustomed to it for the next few hours.
There is clear evidence which shows that despite these problems, trends like hot-desking and open offices have worked for a lot of companies. Yet, there are employees who say that thanks to these issues, their output quality is going down. Some even feel that such office trends are just a gimmick to save costs that would otherwise go into buying cubicles and other office furniture. So, which side is saying the truth?
The truth, as usual, is not that easy to understand. If you notice the companies that have made the open-office idea work, you will also notice that instead of pushing the idea on to the employees, they have taken an enabling approach. Plan the environment to optimize productivity and yet stick to the open-office idea.
In order to do this, you have to focus on eradicating each of the issues of the open-office idea. There happens to be a unifying solution, that you can easily deploy, in order to take care of these issues. The solution is using pods and booths.
What are Work Pods?
Pods are booths or cabin-like structures that are designed for special purposes. Want to have a dedicated spot for a meeting? You are looking for a meeting pod or a meeting booth.
Want to have a pod where people can go and work in silence for a while? You are looking for a quiet pod or a quiet booth. Want to give your teams a dedicated space for all the conference calls? You are looking for a phone pod.
Pods give you the best of both worlds. Yes, open office designs encourage collaboration. But all that distraction across the clock can be more counterproductive than you can imagine.
Instead, having a meeting pod or a quiet booth in place helps your employees choose what they want at the moment. This empowerment will help them be more productive, without disrupting your open-office plan.
Why do you exactly need the Work Pods?
If you already have an open office plan in place, won’t it seem counterintuitive to have a booth-like space in the same office? The reality is that if you think this way, you have dogmatized open office plans.
You are running a business to get the profits and not to have an open office plan. Profits are a function of employee productivity. And in order for employees to be optimally productive, you will have to give them their own space to operate once in a while.
If you start questioning your employees about their workdays, you will get to know that not all their workdays are the same. On some days they can literally work from home.
On some days they have to be on their desks and work on their system. On some other days, they have to brainstorm with other employees and come up with solutions. Thus, their working area should be in line with the dynamism that their workdays have.
Now, hot-desking and open office plans help your employees utilize the available space according to their workday.
But what if their need for the day requires them to have a very important client-call? This is where a phone pod will be required. If you are in the business of generating ideas, such as an ad agency or a product development company, your office will consist of teams that have to frequently assemble for working together. For these teams, a meeting pod can be a boon.
How do I integrate work pods and phone booths into an open office plan?
This can be very difficult for a business operator, who is also supposed to take care of several other things.
The key issues that you might face while trying to integrate pods and booths into an open-working space are:
- You will have to lock down the specific number of booths and pods.
- You will have to ensure that the pods and booths don’t get ‘permanently’ reserved by employees.
- You will have to ensure that the pods and booths are available to the employees exactly when they need it.
Now, if you step back from these issues, you will see that all of them are connected.
Having pods and booths is more a function of:
- How many employees do you have?
- How frequently do they need spaces like a meeting pod?
- What is the available real estate space you have?
The ideal way to integrating a quiet pod or a meeting pod into your office space would be by involving your employees in the decision-making process.
They are the ones who understand the requirements of their work and hence, they are the ones who will give you an insider’s perspective. That, paired with your understanding of the real estate constraints can give you an idea of how many pods you will need.
If this sounds confusing…Don’t worry.
We understand that it can seem very difficult to come up with the right number of quiet pods or meeting pods that your office will need. To add to that, you have to focus on integrating it into your workplace.
Hence, we are here to help you out. We have helped a ton of businesses get the office furniture solution that will help them optimize workplace productivity without putting heavy constraints on their budget.
Get in touch with us and we will walk you through the entire range of solutions for getting the right set of meeting booths and quiet booths for your business.