Open plan offices were once seen as the best layout to optimize productivity and use of space – but this design comes with its own challenges. The lack of privacy made work that required confidentiality a big issue and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these spaces are now a safety hazard too. Here are some modern office design ideas that help improve safety and productivity through the introduction of critical privacy measures.
3 Elements of Privacy in the Workplace and How to Achieve Them
In order to create a more private workplace, three elements need to be present.
- Acoustic – Open offices are known to be loud spaces, since there are no walls to black and absorb the sound of conversations, brainstorming sessions, electronics, telephone calls and more. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to dampen sound and increase acoustic privacy in your office space.
You can try including introducing soft furnishings that absorb sound, like couches, upholstered seating and even paintings.You can replace loud wooden, laminate or concrete flooring with acoustic vinyl or carpeted flooring that absorbs sound rather than adding to it. You can also zone office space more effectively to set social and collaborative spaces far away from task-focused areas, allowing employees to choose their workspace according to their immediate needs.
- Spatial – The space in which office workers have been allocated has been shrinking over the decades, from 225 feet in 2010 to just 151 square feet in 2017, with hot-desking and shared workstations becoming the norm. This makes privacy a huge challenge, and one way of combatting that is to create more spaces where people can work in privacy when needed – for example, utilizing boardroom space or creating smaller meeting rooms around the open, collaborative space.
Of course, due to COVID-19 it has become more essential than ever to give employees enough space to preserve their health. Implementing flexible working hours and work-from-home policies will allow employees that are in the office both to socially distance and work privately.
- Visual – Working in an open plan, collaborative office space can make you feel like you’re living under the microscope, where everyone can see everything you do, all the time. This creates a negative space for productivity where employees feel policed and micromanaged.
There are ways to deliver personal visual privacy while balancing the organizational need to control costs and maximize the use of space. You can invest in screen privacy protectors, add clip-on desk dividers to wall off each workplace, and change the configuration of your contemporary office furniture to maximize individual privacy.
Again, these are vital measures to take not only for employee privacy, but to add additional protection against the transmission of COVID-19. These physical barriers effectively help prevent the transmission of the virus through coughing and sneezing, and are a useful measure in addition to sanitizers and masks.
Implement an Office Design That Prioritizes Privacy and Safety
BE Furniture is a leading supplier of office design services as well as contemporary office furniture in New Jersey, helping our clients to maximize productivity and safety through the delivery of budget-friendly, high-impact designs and furniture solutions.
We also help organizations adapt to the new normal by supplying an end-to-end service to design and implement a healthy workplace in line with social distancing criteria. From protective screens, acrylic barriers and workstation dividers to easy-to-sanitize chairs, protective reception screens and HEPA-filtered air solutions, we provide comprehensive assistance to tackle this challenge.
Contact us today to talk about modern office design ideas that improve privacy, support collaboration, and protect your employees from COVID-19.