Have you ever wandered into an office and wondered where you could get a few minutes of privacy? Well, then you’re not alone. As a manager, your aim is to make the best working environment possible. While open office plans are a great start, it is also time to start looking into open office privacy.
While open office plans are great for encouraging communication and a free-flowing, creative workspace, they can lack the privacy that is sometimes needed. Maybe it’s needed for a video call or a group meeting; whatever the reason, some private spots are a good option.
If you’re wondering how to incorporate some privacy, we have some great ideas for you!
Privacy in an Open Office Plan
Before you get into creating privacy, you’ll need to understand the reasons why some privacy might be required.
As a manager, there are some matters that you’d prefer not to discuss in front of your employees. Similar to that, there are some matters that your employees prefer not to talk about in from of their colleagues!
Situations like a video call or group conference require some private space. If not for your employees’ benefit, then their coworker’s benefit. Regardless of the situation, sometimes privacy is necessary.
Open office plans are extremely noisy. You have all the employees, managers, owners, and possibly customers in one open space; it’s bound to create some noise.
Working in such a noisy and often chaotic environment can be distracting or irritating for some employees. So, when planning, think about creating privacy in open office plan.
People tend to prefer spaces where they aren’t exposed to ‘threats.’ If you observe closely, you’ll see that employees prefer a seat where their back is to a wall. Having a private space to take a break or a phone call is a source of comfort. Even if it is to escape open office noise, privacy is absolutely necessary.
Let’s face it, even the most extroverted employee needs some space. Whether they want to sit away from the noise or take a moment to themselves, privacy is necessary. When individual offices were a thing, it was easy to get a quick break and finish up your work in solitude. With an open office plan, it can be harder to find a moment to yourself.
Privacy, in the end, is all about control. With a modicum of privacy, an employee can choose what their colleagues get to see. They get to choose when their computer screen is visible, what desk decorations others see, and more. After all, appearances matter, and having the privacy to create your appearance is essential.
How to Create Privacy
When you’re trying to create privacy in open office, you might find yourself at a dead end. Privacy is always seen as contrasting to an open office plan. However, there are ways of introducing privacy without compromising the free-flow space you’ve created.
While we’re an evolved species, the primal need to hide at some points has never gone away. Enclaves are a great way of adding some privacy to an otherwise open office. These enclaves don’t have to serve a particular purpose like being someone’s office. An enclave can simply be a space with a standing desk and some chairs.
The purpose of an enclave is to provide a ‘hiding’ spot for your employees. It can also serve as a mini-meeting room for group conversations. What matters is that there are spaces which are separated from the main floor, even if it is just by three walls.
Focus pods are an innovative way to provide the option of privacy. While some people work best in a space where there are people and ambient noise, others require privacy and silence. Focus pods or meeting pods provide the silence and privacy required for those who need it.
Acoustic panels are not a new idea. They have been evolving and are one of the simplest ways to create the illusion of privacy. The panels are durable, customizable, and a great alternative to fabric-wrapped frames. You can fit them in any office, regardless of size.
The acoustic panels create a cute nook that employees can use to answer a private call, finish up a video call, or even just relax for a minute. They’re handy, look great, and easily available.
Apart from acoustic panels, you can even consider the addition of privacy panels. These are panels that are meant to provide a semblance of privacy. They come in different shapes, colors, designs, and trends to match the office aesthetic. If it is a larger space, you can get them along with your bulk office furniture order.
They aren’t very different from privacy screens and are a great way to create sections in your open office plan. The panels help create privacy and organize the space a little better!
If you’ve got your panels, pods, and enclaves and you’re still looking for more private options, then consider the lighting. Using lighting to create the illusion of privacy is one of the oldest tricks in the book. You’ll find this tactic used in libraries and restaurants as well! Dome or bell-shaped lights are generally hung above the table to provide a sense of privacy.
The lighting separates the employees that are actually sitting at the same table. This isn’t a method you can use in isolation, but when used along with panels and other ideas works well. At the very least, the lighting will be great.
Ask for Feedback
If you’ve implemented certain privacy measures or are looking to, then ask for suggestions. Since it is people working on the floor that require privacy, they’ll have the best ideas. If you want to know whether your measures are working, then asking is the best way to measure their success.
Keep an open mind when you’re creating privacy in an open office. Not every measure will work as you intended it to or work at all. With a little feedback and some creativity, open office solutions to privacy will come quickly!
In a world where we put our lives to the world, we still require privacy. Creating privacy in an open office might seem contradictory, but your employees will thank you for it. In the end, what matters is creating the best working environment possible.
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