Meeting Pods for the Open Plan Office

article on meeting pods for the open office

When most people hear the word "pod" they tend to envision some type of spacecraft jettisoning out into a starry night.  But for the purposes of this article, we'll be sticking a bit closer to home. Specifically, we'll be discussing the rising popularity of the meeting pod. These pods, also known as phone booths, office pods and acoustic pods are becoming more and more popular in today's open office. So what exactly are these pods and why did they come about in the first place?

Over the past thirty years, it's become readily apparent that the open office is a hectic and at times intolerable environment to work in. Whether you're dealing with visual distractions in the office area, coworkers taking phone calls outside of meeting rooms or attempting to focus while the person sitting next to you rearranges their desk accessories, it can be painful to get through the day. While many companies attempt to make it easier for people to focus on using room dividers or cubicles, the people who work in these environments will tell you, it doesn't do much of anything.   

Imagine if everytime you went home your house was filled with people. Eventually, being surrounded by so many people would start to wear you down. Everyone needs private space to be creative and feel relaxed. The typical office environment is designed to maximize square footage, but not employee happiness or efficiency. That's where our pods come in. We offer meeting spaces that decrease office distractions and increase employee's happiness, well being and overall efficiency. 

There are a large variety of things to consider when you're deciding on your office meeting pods. First off, are you looking for something with a lot of sound stopping power? If so, you're going to want to avoid units with a ton of glass. Mass stops sound, so the more solid it looks, the more likely it is that it's going to stop sound waves from traveling into and out of the unit. But don't just base your sound test on looks alone. Give the manufacturer a call and ask them if they use soundproofing in the walls, or go online an check the product pages. You should see sound insulation or soundproof material listed somewhere.

Next, you're going to want to consider the fact that this is a work pod so it should have the necessary items people require when working. Is there adequate ventilation, lighting, usb chargers, ac outlet plugs, office desks, room for meeting tables–you get the idea.

Once you know that you've found a unit that is built of solid materials and has the necessary features, you should consider whether or not the unit is modular, meaning does it come in easy to assemble pieces. And while you're looking into that, see how easy it is to disassemble. You're going to want to invest in a unit that you can take with you when you move to your next location. These pods are not your typical office furniture and if you choose a good one you'll never want to work in an open plan office without one again. 

Acoustic phone booths are a common purhase for many people. If you've never seen one, just picture something similar to a london phone booth but much more modern. In the last few years the acoustic meeting pod options have exploded and you can get one persond pods, two person pods and four-person pods. You can even decorate the rooms with your decor, selecting art and room chairs or bar stools to match your office. These small meeting rooms are incredible for focus. Many people actually cover them with whiteboard paint so the people in those work areas can use both the interior and exteriors of the unit. Depending on the pod size this is a great idea. 

We generally caution people against booths that have a lot of glass or booths that are primarily made of fabric. While a fabric phone booth can look really beautiful, they often don't work well and many customers complain they wasted thousands of dollars on units that no one really uses. When shopping for an acoustic office booth you should be looking for a unit that has some ability to stop sound via wall panels or similar.

So you have an idea of what core qualities an acoustic phone booth or meeting pod should have now you might be wondering what size you should get. That question is best answered by observing the natural flow of your office and aking yourself, what do I think would best serve this environment. Do you see a lot of people having one on one conversations? How about groups of 3-5 people talking to each other? Are conference spaces constantly jammed up in your office space? Where do people go to make private phone calls? Really dig into the details and you'll find that the answers start appearing. Of course don't be afraid to just ask your teammates! 

The one thing you can be sure of is that if you buy quality pods is that people will use them and love them. Since the original founding of our American made factory, we've yet to see a group that wasn't excited to receive and start using their office pods.

Going hunitng? Let's round this qualifying list up for you. You can find a similar list in our previous article about modular office furniture:

1. Sound panels?
2. Ventilation?
3. Desk?
4. Outlets?
5. USB Plugs?
6. Reasonably priced compared to competitors?
7. Made of high quality materials?
8. Outdoor lighting (glass celing) or indoor unit lighting?
9. Warranty?
10. Eco friendly?
11. Modular (can be disassembled and reassembled)

As always leave any comments you'd like!

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