Designing For Office Privacy

Office design has over the last 20 years strived to ensure 2 key goals, to maximise cost effectiveness and to increase & foster collaboration.

Relative real estate costs have reduced dramatically since open plan became the standard model for office design and less cellularisation has indirectly fostered more collaboration.  Encouraging direct and regular connectivity between staff has been proven to support business success through innovation, but recent studies have shown that our more introverted functions are unlikely to be supported in the same type of environment.

Office workers today are generally interrupted as often as every three minutes by digital and human distractions. These breaches in attention carry a destructive ripple effect because, once a distraction occurs, it can take as much as 23 minutes for the mind to return to the task at hand.

A recent study of the workplace conducted by the global research firm IPSOS of more than 10,500 workers in Europe, North America and Asia confirms that insufficient privacy in the workplace is an issue throughout the world. The survey results show that being able to concentrate, work in teams without being interrupted or choose where to work based on the task are frequently unmet needs.

The survey further identified that the 11% of workers who had sufficient privacy and were generally satisfied with their workplace were also the most engaged. Conversely, employees highly dissatisfied with their work environment were the least engaged.

Office design can and indeed should support all types of work including collaboration and concentration, the key to successful office design is to ensure a full understanding of the requirements so that they can all be catered for.

More information  and ideas on this subject please is available through the following link to the Steelcase 360 Magazine.

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