Google the term “open office plans,” and there’s a barrage of articles that declare the ubiquitous workplace layout a disaster for our mental health.
The open plan offers its fair share of pros and cons—collaboration and community, along with noise pollution and little privacy.
But it’s interesting that employers aren’t doing much to combat some of the negatives. We’re in the midst of an era where the wellness industry is on the rise, mindfulness is a buzzword, and work-life balance is an important factor in choosing whether or not to accept a job offer.
While yes, Thinktanks is an office pod website, there's something to the idea of a separate space to use WiFi or change up their work flow.
What’s the Deal with Open Office Plans?
Well, while the wall-less layout has long been part of the American office space. The ease of collaboration is the main benefit of the open office layout. You’ll get to know colleagues better and can brainstorm on demand.
These days, there’s an emphasis on collaboration in the workplace. We sit next to colleagues, get invited to lunchtime events with them and talk to them online all day, too.
Slack channels and instant messaging tools, emails, and texts all take us away from our ability to actually focus on work.
But, with these innovations—helpful as they are—comes a hefty dose of burnout.
Work/Life Balance Starts in the Office
These days, millennials are less loyal to their employer than previous generations. Blame it on coming of age in a tanking economy or the ability to scope out new prospects in a matter of clicks, but employers need to focus on things like work-life balance if they want to keep staff happy and productive.
Deloitte’s 2016 survey found that factors like flexibility—flexible hours, remote working—and good work-life balance are more important to workers than the public image of the organization they work for.
So, what does work/life balance mean inside the office?
For starters, that balance means workers can get away from the screen every now and again. Part collaboration and socialization, part ability to escape constant contact, we need to be able to chat with people and retreat--on repeat. The office equivalent of staying in with Netflix after a couple of big nights out.
It’s the ability to move around during the workday. To seek out private refuge in an office pod one day and hang in the lounge with your colleagues the next.
What Should a Space Provide to Employees?
We all hear stories about all of the amenities you'll find in your average startup space. Ping-pong tables, draft beer at the ready, snacks, meals, and activities. Full-service modern offices that bring more amenities than we get at home.
But, what do workers really want from their workspace?
A recent piece posted in the Chicago Tribune mentions the rise of nap pods in offices—aimed at giving workers a chance to catch up on some zzzs for increased productivity.
The CDC states that roughly a third of adults are not getting the recommended amount of sleep—seven hours a night—which can cause productivity problems and health issues.
A BMC Public Health Study from 2016 looked at the growing issue of “presenteeism” a concept that refers to an aging or ailing population that comes to work, despite dealing with mental and physical health concerns.
Researchers found that mental health was one of the most significant problems facing the modern workforce—namely in the form of depression and stress. Work-life balance, coupled with socializing at work, better nutrition, and exercise were all listed as ways to improve wellness in the workplace.
Other working environments are trying to bring a piece of home design to the office. Think inviting colors, textiles, and couches. There's a reason people like being tele-commuters, after all. You can show up to your home office, decked out in PJs and compose those reports.
While we can’t provide nutritional recommendations, our office pods are a way for workers to improve well-being by getting a chance to think through ideas before a meeting or have a one-on-one meeting with another colleague. The pods are of the highest quality, they are designed to be the optimum size and engineered for speedy construction.
From Office Pods to Meditation Rooms: Are Quiet Places the Wave of the Future?
There's a reason so-called still spaces are booming in the office design business. Many are focused on creating room for contemplation, meditation, and yoga, while others are less formal--geared toward concentration and a break from the noise.
In the end, the modern workspace has changed considerably over the past few years. Business owners now require flexibility and customization.
Your workforce might consist of consultants, freelancers, contractors, and regular employees. So, office traffic ebbs and flows. Noises aren't exactly predictable, and someone might be in your usual desk when you get to work.
With these flexible workspaces--and no private office to hide inside, today's office needs a range of environments to accommodate different needs.
So, we're looking at departure from cold, grey rooms and stiff clothing. We also see a greater emphasis on the need for different micro-work environments within an open office. The idea of doing a series of sun salutations with colleagues isn't going to work for everyone.
Instead, consider adding some portable meeting rooms to the office. Pods designed to help workers get more done without the need to break up the open space you love--most of the time.
So, go ahead, browse through our pods. They're available in one, two, or four-person sizes and can function as conference rooms and small offices alike. Not to mention, the mid-century-inspired phone booth design is sure to be a hit with your resident design nerds.
Contact us online to learn more about office booths. Or give us a call for more info on ordering, logistics, or want to hear how we came up with that cool, modular design.