Finding Solitude in an Open Office

With today’s space saving layouts, designed to spur collaboration and creativity, privacy problems can result; particularly regarding speech.  In fact, lack of speech privacy is cited as the #1 source of dissatisfaction, and noise levels not being far behind.  Every passing hour brings many unexpected sights and sounds.  Workers in open offices are interrupted much more frequently than at places where they can find peace behind shut doors. Conversations about weekend dinner plans and even constructive office chatter can be a bother. 

You may be asking yourself – why? Why is privacy so important to office workers? First and foremost, lack of privacy can inhibit personal development and self-expression. Creating an environment in which your employees are not comfortable will inherently cause issues.

Noise and speech privacy can alter productivity by making it difficult to concentrate. That loss in concentration can lead to a serious loss in productivity when it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task (according to research by the University of California). Considering people get distracted on average every 11 minutes this can create a huge problem.

Furthermore, those uncomfortable employees will be feeling additional pressure and stress with a lack of privacy. As outlined in The Healthy Workplace Nudge by co-authors Dr. Mike O’Neill and Rex Miller, stress is detrimental to employee health and wellness. So not only will a lack of privacy result in a loss of productivity, but also result in less healthy employees.

Luckily there are a couple of tools that can help alleviate the madness. Flip through the slideshow to observe some of our favorite ways to provide employees with the privacy they need to do be their happiest and most productive.