While many modern offices are moving to more "open" floor plans that increase space and foster teamwork, there are still many settings or scenarios where privacy is important within the office. With the right attention to detail -- plus the right furniture pieces to assist you -- it's possible to achieve a combination of these themes at once without much trouble at all.
At Urban 9-5, we have a number of industrial office furniture pieces that foster privacy when needed, such as side-by-side workstations that feature dividing walls. What are some of the top methods for improving privacy in your office space, whether the overall format is open or traditional? Here are several to consider as you design a new workplace setup.
Room dividers come in several forms, and every business can benefit from at least one style. Some options include:
- Portable dividers, which can often be rolled from place to place as needed. These dividers are generally composed of plastic, but can also be made of rolled paper or fabric in some cases.
- Cold-framed panels or walls, which are fully assembled and constructed with heavy wood. These walls are sometimes used at the perimeter of a room to separate it from other areas outside its walls, while they may also be raised up in smaller areas to create a space within.
- Foam panels or walls, which are often versatile enough to be used with other organizing tools such as screens, dividers or panels. These panels can be adjusted for height and width, making them convenient for many uses while staying out of the way at the same time.
For open office spaces, these dividers will often be used to separate teams for meetings or other needs. In traditional office settings, they may be used to separate one team from another or to create a small alcove for an employee who needs extra privacy.
Desktop Privacy Panels
For offices where multiple employees will be working using computers on a regular basis, desktop privacy panels are a great choice. These panels create a barrier between computers, even while they're on the same desk, allowing users to focus without distraction from other employees or coworkers.
Desk walls are another option for adding privacy to an open space where many computer users will share a desk. They can be used in office spaces both open and traditional to create barriers between desks while maintaining open floor plans.
Cellular or Modular Partitions
A new type of partitioning is on the scene for those who want to achieve privacy in a unique way. Cellular modules are crafted specifically to have rounded corners, which means they can be built into shapes and curves that span larger distances without creating sharp edges between one area and the next.
This type of partitioning is also known as "modular," meaning that these partitions can be modified after they have been built in order to take up different shapes within a room and still remain usable. In an open office space, this allows you to create larger spaces with few or no 90° angles, helping to keep the entire space looking modern and professional.
While some elements of office privacy are defined largely by furniture items and accessories, others are based on basic use themes. For instance, promote employee privacy by creating a setup that involves laptop and computer screens that face away from common walking areas.
This will help to promote a sense of privacy in employees, without sacrificing the ability for them to interact or communicate with one another. In some cases, you may want to suggest – but not require - that computer screens face walls rather than walkways, which is also an option when designing office space.
Without this sort of privacy, employees may become distracted or disinterested in their work. This will make it difficult for you to create a productive environment, so it's crucial that you implement strategies like screen direction when building an office arrangement.
Headphones for Conference Calls
Another big practical theme to consider outside your spatial setup is noise privacy, which is something that can be improved with headphone use. There's no need for the entire office to hear conference calls, so you'll want to encourage headphones for this purpose.
This will help with two important things: First, it will keep employees focused on business rather than office politics, and second, it will be a simple reminder to them that they should engage in conference calls when the need arises. Some offices offer headphones free of charge as a courtesy to employees, and others make them available for sale.
Noise privacy themes apply even more today than they did a year or two ago, because more people are working from home and more meetings are conducted remotely. It's a smart move to promote headphones for both of these types of calls, and it will help you to create a cohesive office space in the process.
Separate Work from Play
Many offices have dedicated break rooms or other entertainment areas for employees, and it's important to use many of the themes we've gone over to this point to separate these areas from those where work is done. The right furniture items can be used to create separation between work and play, but remember that they don't necessarily have to look like a traditional office space. In some cases, it's just as possible to achieve an open floor plan with separate areas for play or break time when using the right accessories.
For more on how to improve privacy within your office, or to learn about any of our office furniture options, speak to the staff at Urban 9-5 today.