The Need for Personal Space – Soli

The modern office serves significantly more people per sq. ft. than ever before. With the current trend of open plan offices, the walls have come down and the barriers to communication have been dispensed with. The amount of personal space allocated to each employee has fallen in the last few years and while there some people who thrive in this atmosphere of openness, there are others that grumble about the increased noise and the loss of private space.

The working environment has also evolved as new technology has changed working habits for the better. It is not just personal offices that are fast disappearing, but personal desks are also becoming a thing of the past as many businesses are now more flexible with intelligent office layouts and multiple workers using a single physical desk space during different office hours.

This means that companies can create different work zones within the open plan office for greater collaboration between teams. But what about when employees need a quiet space to concentrate on individual tasks or take an important phone call?

Find your own space

In any open plan office there are times when you need to find your own space. According to a recent worldwide IPSOS survey of over 10,000 office workers, 95% of people questioned said working privately was important to them, but only 41% said they were able to do so, and 31% had to leave the office regularly to complete their work. This confirms that insufficient privacy and personal space is a big issue in the modern office.

Of course there are a number of factors which can influence the size of personal space, including the quality of the relationship between co-workers, desk types and office layouts. When workstations are small and close together in desk clusters or bench desks, some people can feel uncomfortable which doesn’t exactly encourage motivation and productivity.

Collaborative working environments based on throwing everybody together are not always conducive for particular tasks, but favour certain types of workers more than others. Some employees thrive on the energy of the open office and the close proximity of colleagues, whereas more introverted people tend to be the ones that will suffer. More and more companies are now becoming more conscious of the needs of different employees and are searching for a professional solution to the issue of too little private space in open plan offices.

The best of both worlds

The challenge that businesses face is working out how to facilitate both the space needed to collaborate and the privacy needed to concentrate. But what about when both are needed at the same time?

Sometimes a team of colleagues working together need their individual space, so flexible offices need a certain amount of room free to create zones prioritising different kinds of work. Desks are important, but so are more casual seating areas where small groups can collaborate, as well as more private work areas in a busy and hectic office where people can get some peace and quiet to finish their work or go to make some phone calls.

This office setup means that employees can focus on their individual work when required, but it’s easier to turn to their colleagues when the need arises. It’s the perfect working environment for maximising the true potential of employees with areas for teams to work individually, spend time away from the madness of the desk, without neglecting the need to collaborate and communicate with the team when it is necessary to do so.

Private working booths

Highly relevant in today's modern open plan offices, Soli Workspaces from Dams are designed for those moments where personal space is required to focus on tasks with minimal noise and distraction. The solo booths are a great place for individuals to seek refuge away the busy, hectic office environment by creating a compact, secluded working area which is sometimes needed for a period of intensive work or concentration to finish off the job in hand.

Soli’s booth design creates an area of personal space within a larger space. The high-sided booths create a secluded space with enclosed acoustic and visual privacy to block out external distractions. With integrated power modules and USB charging points, Soli Workspaces allow users to plug in various devices and work for as long as they need. The modular design can also be easily extended with numerous configurations to suit any office layout.

Soli Squares are square working booths which allow individuals to concentrate and complete focussed tasks in privacy. Soli Triangles can be configured to specific needs and support individual work zones with a rich repertoire of geometric zigzag shapes that can be positioned to suit defined spaces. And Soli Hubs bring a new level of flexibility to the office with versatile, individual cubicles to suit all working styles.

Soli’s unique connection joints allow for multiple workstations and copious arrangements, using shared components which saves space and costs compared to stand alone units. Desktops can be positioned to suit different working styles with adjustable worktop height options for desk high or poseur table levels. Screens are 36mm thick and can be finished in a wide variety of acoustic fabric colour options to suit any office design, making Soli Workspaces the perfect retreat offering visual privacy in open plan office environments.

Don’t underestimate the importance of work privacy

Most companies now believe that collaboration is the key to progression and performance. However too much interaction and not enough privacy has become a real concern for employees who need to concentrate or just take a break. The layout of any office is an important, although often overlooked, factor that affects the way employees perform their jobs.

Before an office redesign, we always recommend spending the right amount of time to think about the types of tasks employees perform in the space. A good open plan office design is not only functional, but also provides comfortable and practical work areas for people. If employees perform the type of work that requires intense concentration or privacy, adding booths or Soli Workspaces could be an inspired option.

This understanding starts from the basic premise that while there may be a good business argument for the open plan office and an admission that some privacy must be sacrificed in the interests of collaboration, the need for personal space and privacy cannot be completely neglected. The challenge is to make informed decisions based on the needs of employees and business requirements, so companies can now start to get the balance right.