There is a lot of focus on collaboration in the office because it’s so important for getting certain types of work done. It’s true that teams need to meet to complete many different types of projects. The need for office collaboration space is real. Many companies have spent a lot of time creating open spaces in the workplace to foster team work and reduce isolation. However, employees need areas to do their work.
Quiet and private spaces are just as vital as collaboration areas in offices. People need time and space to think and focus on their work and projects. They need an area to focus on their work so they can complete it thoroughly and accurately. Many people also feel drained after a certain amount of interaction with team members. They need a quiet place to recharge their batteries so that they can get their work done. Studies have shown that not only do interruptions and noise make it difficult to concentrate; they can actually increase employee stress levels. Workers know their productivity levels are dropping and they begin to worry about keeping up with their work deadlines.
The key to a productive workplace is building appropriate balance between group spaces and individual working areas. Both need to be present so that the office can be as productive as possible. Open space areas are still important so that people can collaborate. However, there need to be private areas as well. There also need to be spaces that teams can meet privately and work quietly without distractions. Spaces for personal conversations also need to be available.
Some research studies have shown that workers feel they have to work away from their main workspace to get any work accomplished. This often means working away from the office. This is often because there is no space for anyone, especially introverted people, to avoid the distractions and interruptions that are so constant in the modern workplace. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways to design a modern office that has the feel of a modern, open office while still providing the quiet spaces that workers need to think and produce. You’ll also be able to include space for all employees to conduct private meetings, conversations and phone calls.
Cubicle spaces can play an important part in providing employees with private working spaces. Cubicles can be designed in many different ways. Some cubicle configurations indicate privacy more than others. To increase privacy, consider adding more paneling instead of glass and building the cubicles in a different area from the open spaces of the office. This separation from open areas indicates that the cubicles are meant as private areas as opposed to group spaces. It’s important to keep working spaces away from doors and reception areas. If there is no one at a reception desk or nearby, visitors will automatically wander to the nearest cubicle for help. Constant inspiration will make it difficult for workers to concentrate. Paneling around the area outside of the cubicles can indicate the area is reserved for private work space.
Taller cubicles are also good options for private work spaces. The higher walls help block out noise and indicate a private area to the people in the area. You can also purchase cubicle workstations for individuals or two people that provide private space for getting computer or desk work completed. Cubicles don’t work for every privacy issue. They can’t provide shield personal or confidential conversations. Sometimes, complete privacy is necessary. Often, managers or employees need to make phone calls individually or in groups that can’t be overheard. In these cases, companies can provide small rooms with doors that shut and lock. Rooms can be reserved if necessary. People can use the rooms to place calls without anyone overhearing what they are saying so that sensitive information won’t be overheard.
Sealed conferences rooms and offices should also be available for quiet work and private conversations. Some meetings involve sensitive, private information. Other times, both small and large meeting groups need to be free from interruptions. There have to be private spaces so that these groups can do the work they need to do in peace and quiet.