Most offices today use some kind of cubicle or open office system. That means workers often sit next to, across from, or are otherwise surrounded by their coworkers. While this may be an effective use of space, it isn’t always conducive to high worker productivity.
For those who would rather work in a more private environment, but who don’t necessarily have the space or credentials to warrant their own corner office, there’s the Brody. Created by furniture company Steelcase, Brody workspace is basically one-person work pod. They have privacy screens that can effectively shut out all outside distractions.
So for those workers who might be apt to spend a good portion of the workday chatting with seatmates, staring out windows or otherwise wasting valuable work time, the Brody work pod is a solution. But some have argued that it could give some more of an opportunity to waste time in other ways. It can, after all, hide your computer screen so bosses and co-workers can’t see that you’re really checking Facebook or spending time on your phone.
But before you assume the worst, there is reason to believe the Brody’s overall impact would be a good one. And there’s research to back that up. To observe worker focus in the wild, the Steelcase team headed to college libraries. And they noticed a trend in the people who seemed to be the most dialed into their work. Mark McKenna, director of product design at Steelcase told Wired:
“When they really need to pay attention and digest some stuff, students get themselves out of a chaotic environment, and then put their backs to the wall. They position themselves so no one could sneak up behind them.”
It might not work in every office space. In situations where collaborative work is needed, for example, private workspaces might only serve to slow productivity. But for those independent workers who might be easily distracted by happenings around the office, it could help. And it’s just another option for those looking for a change to the basic open office concept.