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Where the Workplace Goes Wrong with Open Office Plans and Providing Privacy at Work

When the open office trend started gaining momentum, there were a lot of very well-intended motivations behind it. Cubicles had gotten a bad reputation and companies were looking for ways to improve communication, encourage collaboration, and help people feel more connected in the workplace. In some cases, companies also liked the idea of promoting transparency and putting everyone on the same level by taking down the walls that used to separate people. However, despite how great all of those goals are, the rise of open offices ultimately opened the door to a lot of other problems.

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when adopting an open office is not allowing for any privacy. Teamwork helps drive innovation in the workplace, but it’s not the only way to work. In fact, research from Steelcase has found that putting too much emphasis on togetherness at work can hinder productivity more than it helps.

Different types of tasks call for different environmental needs. There are times when people really need to be able to focus on a task by themselves in peace. And when people are working together, it’s nice for them to have a place to go where they won’t be distracted by other activity in the office. Office privacy doesn’t have to be all or nothing; there are many different degrees of privacy that fall between an open plan office and a private office. Designing an office to include varying degrees of privacy gives people the power to work where they will be their most productive.

Man sits in lounge chair with feet on grey footrest in front of privacy screen

Space Division

Thanks to mobile technology, it’s become more common for people to spend time working in places like lounges. In open offices, portable screens are an excellent way to create definition for collaborative areas and add privacy without making any permanent changes to your space. Clipper Screens are very lightweight, easy to set up, and can be folded flat for storage. While Clipper Screens are fully opaque, Campfire Screens are made with a semi-transparent mesh, so they add privacy without making people feel completely closed off from the rest of the office.

Red chair at white desk with privacy panel dividing workspace.

Desk Privacy

Even when people have more freedom to move around the office throughout the day, they often still spend a considerable amount of time working at their desks. Desk dividers very often serve other purposes aside from creating privacy. SOTO Functional Screens provide storage for personal items while magnetic screens, such as Bivi Screens, Divisio Side Screens, and Privacy Screens, can give people a way to customize their workstations by displaying personal photos.

Two lounge sofas face each other with privacy canopy.

Privacy Without Walls

Screens and partitions aren’t the only ways to bring privacy to the workplace. Why not consider furniture that provides its own privacy? Bivi Rumble Seat Hoodies are designed to attach to Bivi Rumble Seat Sofas, creating a comfortable place for people to head to when they need to focus on something by themselves or to have a quiet conversation with another coworker.

Need help creating an open office that your employees will love? Schedule a call with our planning assistance team. Once our team learns more about your space, we can get to work designing a space that meets your needs.

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