The new millennium brought with it many things; low-rise jeans, the Nokia 3310…and open plan offices.
As we bid farewell to the cubicles that had long dominated the days of 9-5ers, the worldwide workforce were introduced to a new era of social collaboration and interaction. Bosses tore down the walls standing in the way of creative thinking (literally) and opted for a more open approach to the working day.
Employees everywhere were finally able to see each other! They could freely share ideas and solve problems as a collective. For a while, it was great. Innovation and creativity spiked, and for many businesses, things seemed to be going better than ever. Not only this – the lack of walls meant bosses could fit more employees into a smaller space, thus saving them money on renting out larger premises. From the worker bee to the queen bee; everyone seemed happy.
For a while.
Soon enough, the cracks began to show. Employees noticed that they had little to no privacy. Conversations could be heard from up to 70ft away*, making it impossible to filter out distracting noise from co-workers. Introverts (who account for around half the working population) started to feel more and more uncomfortable being made to engage in forced social interactions. People began to speculate that productivity in open-plan offices had dipped, and it didn’t take long for researchers to cement this claim as fact.
So, why not scrap open plan offices? Well, the truth is that they do increase creativity and free-thinking, and as much as staff hate the noise pollution in an open-plan office, they hate 6ft solo cubicles more.
The solution? Glass office pods.
Businesses everywhere – ranging from Nike to small tech start-ups* – have begun offering their employees the option of working independently in an office pod or collectively in an open plan office. They are doing this by installing semi-permanent booths into their office spaces. They can range in size to suit one person or several, and they give workers the option to seclude themselves when they feel like their concentration is dipping or open themselves up when they need to work as a team.
The nice part for the people in charge is that they aren’t permanent and therefore do not require any structural changes to be made to the building. This means offices can host an abundance of employees in close proximity but still give employees privacy - without the need for 6ft opaque walls.
The fact that these modular meeting pods are a fixed structure means that if a company moves premises, the pods can move too. In addition, glass office pods can be completely customised which allows employers to give their staff a space that is tailored to them and their jobs.
Curved walls, straight walls, glass walls, fabric walls, half walls, full walls, space for one person, space for six people - acoustic office pods offer adaptive qualities that brick and mortar simply can’t.
The units are constructed from aluminium frames available in white or silver. The frames are sealed with either 4mm toughened safety glass or 40mm-thick acoustic fabric panels, but drywipe walls are also available. Entry to each pod can be achieved through a sliding door designed specifically to not obstruct walkways outside the pod or encroach on space within the pod. Lights are integrated into the ceiling, as is a ventilation unit (if selected).
Despite the low price point, these work pods offer a premium finish. The fabric is B1 fire-rated, the float glass contains up to five times less iron than standard glass to reduce the greenish hue, and the ventilation unit provides 66 litres of airflow per minute whilst never exceeding 44dB (meaning staff can enjoy a healthy supply of oxygen (which reduces tiredness) without being distracted by the noise of the unit).
Each glass office pod is manufactured in the UK, so the climate aware employees can rest easy knowing their quiet meeting rooms haven’t cost the earth.
If you run an open plan office and are keen to get the most out of your employees, modular meeting pods could be the answer you’ve been searching for. To find out more about our glass office pods or our range of office meeting pods, please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.