Open plan spaces are on-trend in the design industry, especially in corporate office layouts. However, several studies have shown that open plan collaborative spaces impact focus, compromising employees’ productivity, quality of work and fresh thinking.

“Employees in open plan offices spend 73 per cent less time in face-to-face interactions. Email and messaging use shot up by over 67 per cent.”

Focus is not just about willpower, determination and attitude; it also needs the right environment. Open plan offices restrict the ability to focus.

“Many employers are heavily focused on driving collaboration and interaction at the expense of privacy and concentration. This has negative outcomes for both productivity and work relationships. Organisations should focus on providing workplaces that support the requirements for privacy and focus, as well as interaction and collaboration.”

Things are so bad that a recent ABC article declared the open plan office ‘dead’.

The inability to focus in open work environments has spurred the invention of wacky gadgets to help workers focus, including the Panasonic Wearspace and brightly coloured ‘leave me alone’ headphones.

Work-from-home has been normalised since the beginning of the lockdown. Most homes are not designed to support an office set-up, resulting in people working in their living rooms or bedrooms, at the end of the dining table next to a blaring TV and energetic kids, or hunched over their laptop on the bed. Neither is this an ideal situation nor does it look professional on a video call.

Can collaboration happen at the expense of real productivity? Is it possible to close your open plan?

Urbanrooms has developed internal and external flat packed pods that create a comfortable, soundproofed space to help you get your work done in a professional and inspiring environment.

Featuring an ergonomically designed space, these pods offer workers the flexibility to choose an appropriate environment to work in depending on whether they need to focus or collaborate. These acoustic booths also allow private meetings and phone calls to stay private. Soundproof pods are ideal for the current work-from-home situation as they allow a clear divide between home and work, helping reduce the stress factor when working from home.