The problem: The noisy modern office
In the average workplace there are a multitude of activities going on at any one time. Look around your office and notice small groups of people having discussions (collaboration), chatting in the kitchen or common areas (socialising), larger gatherings working through the agenda in a meeting (larger scale collaboration) - and those at their desks trying hard to concentrate with all the activity going on around them (focus work).
The cause: The many styles of work
Throughout the course of a single day, workers engage in many different activities. Successful organisations realise the need to provide spaces that allow employees to work in the most productive way for them. This means giving the collaborators a place to do so comfortably, without distracting others trying to focus. Focus workers need easy access to areas where they can have peace and quiet for as long as they need it. These two work activities need to be insulated from the noise in social areas.
The challenges: Collaborate vs Concentrate
How can you easily and cost-effectively create a personal space in a public office without building walls? What is the alternative to multiple meeting rooms in an office with limited floor space? And how can this be achieved whilst still providing an experience that is positive for the user?
The solution: The office pod
It is possible to find a solution without going back to the much vaunted office cubicles of the 80s and 90s. Technology has advanced and now office pods are available that are lightweight enough to be portable, have the capability to absorb noise and are ergonomically designed.
Pods offer users the chance for some visual and auditory privacy without the need for a meeting room or private office. They only take up a small amount of floor space and can be moved around the office as needed.
Research shows that people focus best when there is a low hum of noise around them as opposed to a silent environment. The best pods incorporate sound dampening treatments to further insulate users from noisy distractions without excluding all noise completely.