It’s no secret that open plan offices don’t provide much privacy or quiet working space. In fact, many studies have shown that open plan offices are linked to poor productivity. If your office space is designed to be open but you’d like to provide some privacy for your employees, there are several actions you can take to change the landscape of your working space.
Here are five simple ways to improve privacy in open plan offices.
1. Reduce the Noise
One of the biggest problems with open plan offices is that everyone’s noise is heard by everyone else. You might be trying to concentrate on an expense report, but you keep getting distracted by Jeff’s humming and Anna’s phone conversation with a client.
If this is a common problem at your office, consider installing acoustic portable room dividers. These partitions absorb sound and give each of your workers a quiet place to work. Not only will each area of the office seem quieter, but the overall atmosphere will be more conducive to productive work. Better yet, they can be retracted when not in use, so you can retain the open plan layout when you need it.
2. Create Task-Specific Areas
Another way you can help employees to be more productive is to create task-specific areas. It’s easy to become distracted when you can see everything at once. By creating areas that are designated for accomplishing certain tasks, you can help your workers to focus, and you can also save face.
For instance, you could create an area in the office that is dedicated to printers, copiers and other publishing materials. These areas can be noisy and distracting, but if you tuck them away behind some strategically-placed partitions, they’ll cease to be problematic.
3. Choose the Right Partitions
If you’re aiming for privacy, choose taller partitions and thicker materials. Explore different materials, such as cell-core fibreglass, canvas, polycarbonate and ribbed acoustic fabric. Each of these options provides a different amount of privacy, so decide what will work best for your office.
Materials aren’t the only important consideration, however. Think about how flexible you’ll need to be with your partitions. If you want to be able to move them around and reconfigure them as needed, consider getting partitions that are lightweight and easy to fold. Some can even be mounted on wheels so they can be moved easily at any time.
For greater privacy, you could choose partitions that meet the floor directly from end-to-end with no gaps. These partitions can “seal off” a section of your open plan office as if it were a completely separate room.
4. Plan Carefully
One of the most important things you can do when you’re converting your open plan office into a workspace with more privacy is to plan carefully. Take exact measurements of the area, and draw out floor plans that show where you’ll place partitions. Be sure to leave adequate walkways and communal areas in your floor plan, and experiment with several different configurations before you settle on a final design.
5. Take Suggestions
Before you start making final plans to improve the privacy in your office, talk to your employees. They’re the ones who know what they need in order to be productive. Getting their feedback will help you to reach your goals for the workspace.
If some of your employees need to collaborate more than others, consider creating a section of the office with lower partition walls. If some employees have to talk on their phones more than others, consider installing acoustic partitions in that area. By learning about the unique needs of different employees, you can create custom privacy solutions that will serve the entire office well.
For more information about improving the privacy of open plan offices, or to discuss your office’s partition needs, get in touch with us at Portable Partitions.