If your company is using an open office plan, chances are, that employees are more distracted by increased noise and resent the lack the lack of privacy created by this form of office architecture than you know. This is the opposite of the original aim of the open office design was thought to offer an increase in face to face interaction and engagement, where employees would be happier in a less confined workspace. But now, with the trend of open office being the norm, the invention of the employee phone booth, may offer the solution to improve the open office environment.
The problem of the open office designed workplace, reflects the results of two very telling studies. An enterprise software strategist William Belk, created a survey that showed 58 percent of high-performing employees state that they need more privacy for solving problems, with 54 percent of them saying that their office environment prove to be “too distracting.” The results of a study by Ethan S. Bernstein and Stephen Turban, rejects the original thinking that open office plans promote collaboration and face-to-face interactions. It found that in the open office design, face-to-face interactions actually lessened by 70 percent. Also, emails were shown to increase by 56 percent and instant message usage had increased by 75 percent. But now, businesses are starting to realize that completely open office spaces may not be working out the way that they had originally imagined. So, a few companies are trying something new, that, ironically is very old. The phone booth.
First and foremost, the new phone booth provides the employee with quieting technology. They are fitted with the highest quality acoustical panels available. A single person booth, provides a space nearly noise free space to make important calls, take part in virtual meetings, or record audio for marketing videos, as an example. The units typically are small enough that they are not obtrusive and can be moved to new locations fairly easily. There are also two and four-person units that allow for private meetings or for small group to do special projects without disturbing co-workers.
A phone booth company can customize the exterior to fit the customer’s office decor, while the interior provides design flexibility in materials and features. But aesthetics aren’t the only consideration. Since a person may have to spend prolonged periods of time working there, the booth is carefully designed to thermostatically control temperature and ventilation to optimize comfort. Amenities include the features necessary to conduct calls or use a laptop computer. Typically, that would include a built-in desk, a USB port and an LED light. A chair can be built-in or left to the customer to use their own.
The traditional phone booth was the mainstay of public communication throughout the 20th century. It was everywhere. From isolated gas stations in the middle of farm country, to just about every corner of every block of a typical town or city. But with the birth and widespread use of the cellular phone, the traditional phone booth was all but gone from the face of the planet. But this new re-purposing of the phone booth into the business environment proves one thing, that although technology improves our lives in many ways, you just can’t get past the human need for privacy and quiet to think without distraction at work.