Office Pods: The Pros & Cons

Soundproof office pods have become popular around the globe. Pods can be large meeting rooms, or as small as a phone booth to accommodate an individual on a voice or video call. What are the pros and cons of office pods?

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office pods south africa

Office pods are soundproof flexible private rooms that are available in South Africa in various sizes, the smallest being the phone booth pod suitable for a single person. In many cases these pods are furnished with a height adjustable standing desk, ergonomic chair and come fully equipped with lighting, electrical plugs and monitor.

Office pods can be open at one end or completely enclosed, and have features like sound absorbing interiors, double-glazed glass, antibacterial fabrics and video conferencing capability.

As a fully self-contained mini-office, these pods are designed for immediate use by anyone in the office that requires a private and quiet area in which to work.

Open Plan Offices

When you think of an open plan office, you typically envisage a place full of the hustle-bustle of people and machines. Open plan offices focus on team collaboration, where workers sit together in a large room. With phones ringing, people making telephone or video calls, keyboards being bashed and team members holding discussions, these noises and distractions can have a detrimental effect on employees’ concentration, productivity and general wellbeing. There is no privacy in an open plan office.

Open plan offices promised eye contact, collaboration, improved creativity, human interaction, and bright open spaces. However, what we have ended up with are loud rooms full of busy people who have no privacy, and who are desperately trying to concentrate. 
The Advantages and Disadvantages of the Open Plan Office.

open plan office
Typical open plan office

In an article published in BBC Worklife, "only one-in-four employees say their office environment fostered both collaboration and individual concentration, according to a 2013 study of open and traditional American workspaces by global design firm Gensler. More than half reported being disturbed by others when trying to focus."

Office Pods Offer a Solution

Although seamless collaboration and communication are critical within an organisation, it is important for employees to have moments of privacy. Depending on the task, a large portion of an employee’s day may involve interacting with colleagues and management. There are however many situations that demand solitude and freedom from interference. Soundproof office pods cater to this need.

Valtteri Hongisto at the Turku University of Applied Sciences in Finland, found that “if you’re doing highly concentration-demanding work, then your performance is reduced by 10% if you are exposed to speech that is intelligible. However, if you don’t hear the words then performance is not reduced at all.”

Office pods in South Africa are used as a workstation, a conference room, a soundproof private phone booth, or an annex. If you’re working in your office, a pod can provide you with the privacy and flexibility that you need to do your job. 

With COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns, people have gotten used to working in solitude. Although returning to work in the office has allowed employees to better interact and collaborate with their peers, the need to work in peace remains. This is one of the reasons why modern office designs, and even home offices, have started incorporating pods. Small home office ideas.

The most common use for office pods is for phone calls and video conferences, while larger pods are ideal for team meetings and confidential discussions. When making phone calls, it can be difficult to concentrate when others are talking nearby. Hearing two or more voices at once can be disorientating and may cause employees to lose track of what’s being discussed. For video conferencing, this can be even more difficult. A private soundproof pod allows calls and videos to be put on speaker without disturbing anyone else in the office. Furthermore, it also creates a more professional environment, which is particularly important to anyone on the other end of the voice or video call.

phone booth office
office pods south africa

In South Africa, office pods are available in a variety of sizes and configurations.

office pods South Africa

Office Pods - The Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Create a discrete space within an open plan office where private calls and video conferences can be held without disturbing others.
  • Encourages collaboration.
  • Employees can find privacy whenever they need it. It has been proven that employees work harder when they feel that they are working in privacy. 
  • Excellent place for employees to concentrate and focus.
  • Allows for social distancing.
  • Extremely flexible and can easily be installed.
  • Huge variety of office pods available in South Africa.
  • Lower cost than creating office cubicles.
  • Can be used as an office for management.
  • May include artwork and corporate branding.

The Cons

  • May require duplication of office equipment and accessories. Typical examples include ergonomic chairs, standing desks, monitors, whiteboards, and a projector.
  • May create anxiety and stress among employees if they see management huddled in the pod for an impromptu meeting.
  • For some employees, phone booth office pods may be claustrophobic and cause them to become anxious and stressed. How to deal with stress at work.
  • Pods may require additional infrastructure. Typical examples include power, ventilation and air conditioning, internet and landline phone connections.

Conclusion

Office pods are becoming increasingly popular in South Africa as they provide workers with much-needed privacy within a busy workspace. Installing suitable office pods improves productivity by helping employees to focus more and steer away from unwanted noise and disturbances. Phone booth pods for individuals on voice or video calls prevent disturbing other people in the office. If you are planning to add soundproof pods in your office design, make sure you choose them based on the purpose you want them to fulfill, the size of your office, and the frequency of their usage.

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