Believe it or not, the open office concept was being used before the cubicle in the early 20th century. What we’ve learned since that time is there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to office space, which is what a survey commissioned by ROOM reveals.
The fact of the matter is there will always be people who cherish their privacy when they work, while others prefer an open and collaborative space. But according to the survey, one in eight American open office space workers (13%) have considered leaving their job because of this layout.
It might sound dramatic, but this particular data point proves open office spaces are extremely stressful for a segment of the population. If you can identify this group in your business, creating a space in which they feel comfortable will go a long way in getting the most productivity out of them.
Morten Meisner-Jensen, Co-Founder of ROOM, goes into further detail regarding how the physical workspace in which employees work hasn’t evolved to address the needs of all workers.
In an email press release, Meisner-Jensen says, “Considering we spend a third of our lives in the office, companies need to prioritize fostering a physical environment that allows for areas to work, think, create and rest. Workers’ current frustrations with the open office show that the workplace isn’t a one-size-fits-all environment, and it’s time companies break free from the traditional open office mold.”
The Open Office Space Survey
Two open office space surveys commissioned by ROOM were carried out by YouGov PLC to determine how Americans feel about open office space layouts.
The first survey took place online between September 12th – 17th, 2018 with a nationally representative sample of 4,037 adults comprising of 434 open office workers.
The second survey looked at 3,037 adults in the top 10 U.S. cities by population between October 12th – 19th, 2018. It was also conducted online with around 300 participants in New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, and Houston.
ROOM says anxiety, distraction, and lack of privacy are some of the challenges workers in open office spaces face in today’s modern workplace.
For two in three or 62% of workers, these feelings might be why they said they want their next job to have a closed office layout.
Why, because close to one in four (24%) also said they consistently feel stressed throughout the day in this type office environment. This stress is responsible for one in seven (16%) of the respondents stating their overall health has declined.
Workers have had to take some unusual measures to avoid their work environment throughout the day. For some (31%) it meant going to closets or the hallway to take a phone call.
A telling survey question on how much workers dislike this type of space is, what they would give up for some peace?
A coffee machine, sunlight, summer Fridays, end year bonus, holiday parties, and even a five-day vacation were stated by the respondent.
How Does this Impact a Business?
For almost a third or 29%, the distractions and noise from the open office space are responsible for them being less productive. Another 20% said they found it difficult to complete their tasks in an open office space.
Some (13%) have even said it has created resentment towards senior staff who happen to have their own private office.
As to how small business can benefit from installing a ROOM One unit, Meisner-Jensen told Small Business Trends,
“Open office plans are a cost-effective solution for small businesses. Making individual offices for people is expensive, and an open plan can easily scale with a growing company. However, successfully implementing the open office layout requires creating supporting environments with room for both privacy and collaboration.”
He goes on to day, “At ROOM, we created a simple product—the in-office phone booth—that provides a modular solution to help with the distractions of the open office. Recognizing that open offices negatively impact businesses of all sizes, we wanted to keep costs low—so that everyone from the small business to the emerging startup, could experience the benefits of having a private, quiet space to think and work.”
The ROOM Concept
ROOM has come up with a concept which gives businesses the ability to provide a private space within an open office environment.
ROOM One is the company’s flagship product which offers workers a soundproof space delivering privacy for employees in a modular and creative design.
Each ROOM One is adaptive and light so you can move it around in the office or when you change locations.
The unit has been designed with acoustic experts to make it soundproof while keeping it cool with a discrete fan and ventilation system. And doing its share to protect the environment, 60% of the soundproofing materials for the units is constructed from recycled plastic bottles.
For the older employees, they find it hard to adjust with a sudden change in software and they find it hard to find the functionalities that they use to have with Microsoft.