Are Privacy Pods for You? 4 Factors to Consider
Are office phone booths right for your open floor plan? Here are 4 factors to consider and alternatives for acoustics and privacy.
If you yearn for the sound of silence, you may think a privacy pod is for you. (You’re welcome for the earworm. Go ahead and listen to the original “Sound of Silence” or a truly fantastic remake while you learn more about privacy pods!)
Background on Privacy Pods | Phone Booths
Privacy pods—aka, phone booths, escape pods, office pods—are a recent reaction to the open space office revolution. In open space offices and even cubicles, you can hardly concentrate with all the noise and distractions. And you can’t hide. Anything. Working on your resume, finding out if you’re really pregnant, talking to your kid’s teacher, buying that jacket on Amazon. Heck, you can’t even get a quiet moment to focus on a client call or produce a PowerPoint. Next thing you know, you're hiding in the stairwell or out in your car.
Is it the best Soundproof Acoustic Solution?
But is a pod the best way to block out noise and distractions while achieving a sense of privacy for both business and personal matters?
On the upside, these novel little huts provide a quiet space to take a quick call, check out sensitive files, or really focus.
On the downside, we’re talking about $3,500 - $8,000+ Petri dishes that while not necessarily soundproof do a great job of announcing to coworkers that you’re secretive and/or self-important. Now, with coronavirus lurking as people start to return to work, pods look even less ideal.
We all need a respite from our open offices, but four factors indicate that privacy pods are not the solution.
In the best of circumstances, a 4x4 foot closed space is virtually guaranteed to incubating germs. Pod dwellers are literally sitting in a box of breath. [they claim to be ventilated?] In the age of coronavirus—even with diligent cleaning and disinfecting between visitors—it will be hard to be safe (or at least feel safe) inside a box. Speaking of cleaning, you’ve got your desk or cube that needs careful cleaning every day as we battle coronavirus. (Who are we kidding, we should have been cleaning them all the time.) And now you’re slipping into another space to germ it up as well?
In some offices and co-working spaces, privacy is in such demand that pods are scheduled in 30-minute increments. While this may be helpful for phone calls, a 30-minute slice of time is not great for focusing on real work. Can you really finish that report, come up with a great tagline, the craft that perfect client email or edit your kid’s homework in half an hour—before heading back to the chaos of the open office? And, of course, today’s world requires scheduled cleanings between each use of a privacy pod.
Space, Comfort & Tech
The 3 or 4 square feet provided by a privacy pod usually lacks a seat for you and a parking space for your laptop or tablet. Ergonomic? Um, no. Claustrophobic? Forget it. In addition, some privacy pods lack outlets and USB for charging up your devices, meaning that you better plan ahead for your 30-minute burst of scheduled productivity. Although the pod may be a nice respite from a noisy, distracting workspace, you won’t want to stay long even if they’re available.
Isolation vs. Collaboration
Open offices are intended to encourage collaboration, innovation, employee engagement, and healthy company culture. Whether open offices and cubicles—versus private offices with doors—help achieve these aims is debatable. But we know for sure that collaboration and bonding do not happen when people are hiding in pods. If you’re the one in the pod, you have only yourself to brainstorm with. If you’re outside the pod, it’s like one coworker is always on vacation. Plus, simply heading into the pod lets everyone know that you have something so important or so secret to do that you need to be alone. The resulting gossip helps no one.
Privacy Pod Alternatives
So, what is the solution for desperate workers craving privacy and companies clamoring for collaboration? That’s where the convertible MojoDome desk comes in—check it out here!