The problem: The noisy modern office
In most workplaces there are multiple activities going on at once. Look around your office and notice small groups of people having discussions (collaboration), chatting in the kitchen or common areas (socialising), larger groups having a formal meeting (collaboration) - and those at their desks trying hard to concentrate with all that activity going on around them (focus work). The noise created can be very distracting.
The cause: The many styles of work
Throughout the course of a single day, workers engage in many different activities. Successful organisations provide spaces where employees can work productively based on the type of work they are doing at the time. This means giving the collaborators a place to work together comfortably, without distracting others trying to focus. The 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 coming from social areas.
The challenges: Collaborate vs Concentrate
How can you create a private space in a public office without building walls? What's the alternative to multiple meeting rooms if an office has limited floor space? And how to achieve this while still providing a positive user experience?
The solution: The office pod
There is 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. They can also be very cost effective.
Pods offer 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.