Do you love the open office environment, but sometimes struggle with the need for a quiet spot to get a project done, have a private conversation, or just have a moment by yourself?
While trends in office space planning are moving towards no walls and open spaces, the reality is that most people sometimes need an area which is peaceful and private, where they aren’t interrupted.
The open office isn’t going away because it has proven to be great for managing by overhearing, training the new hire, and collaboration. It also helps the growing company be flexible as they need to add or move employees without calling a contractor and building more walls.
So, how are offices balancing the need to be together but “apart”? Our annual trip to NeoCon proved that manufactures are paying attention to their customers’ open office needs. We saw lots of creative ways to get a moment of isolation, while still being “available”.
This year the drapery curtain showed up in several showrooms, turning the cubicle walls into a framework that allows for a curtain to be drawn for full separation, or just some. Herman Miller created a lounge in their open office using a giant red velvet curtain and globe lights. Groovy!
There were also a lot of “pods”, little rooms that manufacturers are now offering as part of the line of furniture. You buy this tiny room and place it within the open office and plug it in for power and ventilation.
There were canopies, lids and cones of all shapes and sizes that aim to keep your voice from traveling to the next. There was one we called “the cone of silence” that you can pull down around a meeting table.