The modern office has a privacy problem. Consider many of the staples of 21st-century office design: open office plans, glass walls, minimalist furniture, and unassigned seating. Interior designers ran from closed-off cubicle design and ran fast. The result was an attempt to create openness, collaboration, and transparency. In many respects, this was a great success! But there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. So, how can we address modern office design and the privacy problem?
Open Workspaces Kill Productivity
Without privacy, it’s also a lot easier to get distracted. An open environment invites socialization, and it’s easy to become hyperaware of everything going on around you. Distractions are hard to escape from when you need to concentrate. The average person takes 25 minutes to refocus on a task after being distracted, according to a study by researchers at University of Irvine. In a workspace where distractions abound, how does anyone get anything done?
Why Our Brains Hate Our Offices
Open workspaces are a highly stressful environment for many introverted people. With no privacy or quiet, office workers have increased feelings of discomfort and anxiety. Today’s leading research on evolutionary psychology finds that even despite a lifetime of urban life for many of office workers, our brains still love the prospect and refuge locales that our hunter-gatherer ancestors sought out. Basically, we like to have a view of our surroundings, while also having shelter.
Ever felt uneasy with your back to the door? It’s human genetics. And it’s why the exposed feeling of working in an open workplace is so upsetting to many of us. Our brains are wired to need more privacy. Without it we suffer from increased stress and unhappiness.
Privacy of Sensitive Data/Information
Besides employee comfort, open workplaces can have a negative impact on clients who never even set foot on your property. Openness becomes a major problem when your work involves sensitive and confidential information. Overheard phone calls or visible screens with vital data suddenly become major security breaches.
There’s a Better Way
This is not to say we should go back to our cramped cubicle way of life. There are plenty of great design solutions that address privacy needs in the modern workplace.
Data Privacy: Cloaking Film
For the most protection with the least change to the physical space, cloaking film is your answer. Cloaking film applies to glass windows or walls to protect your digital privacy. It works by obscuring the light from LED screens in a space. Looking in, you can see everything perfectly – except the screens appear blank.
With this product, you can completely maintain the openness and transparency of your modern office design without compromising security. Any meetings presenting sensitive data are kept confidential from anyone not inside the room. It gives you security and protection without having to be shut up in a windowless room. Transparency meets confidentiality.
Visual Privacy: Frosted Glass Film
It’s important not to think of privacy as an all-or-nothing game. The total privacy of a traditional office or the zero privacy of a glass partitioned space aren’t your only options. There’s a lot of in-between options there. For the perfect balance between privacy and openness, frosted films are the perfect solution. Because of their customizability, you can get exactly as much or as little visual privacy as you need.
Frosted bands are a popular solution that proves both simple and sophisticated. They create the look of frosted glass without the expense. And there’s a lot more variety in that category than you might think. Frosts vary wildly in translucency, from creating a slightly blurred visual effect to completely obscuring everything in a room. They are available in any size: small bands that strategically block computer screens, larger bands for more privacy, or even full coverage for total confidentiality.
Custom Glass Film – Taking Your Visual Privacy Solution to The Next Level
Visual privacy is a simple and common necessity, and there are plenty of simple and functional solutions for it. Many of these, like frosted bands are just that: simple. They’re the baseline solution. A perfectly good solution! But why not get a bit more ambitious?
Frosted glass films have become the standard solution for privacy in glass offices, but the world of glass film has a lot more to offer. Choose custom options and transform simple frosted privacy film into a stunning centerpiece. Add branding with reveals cut in the shape of your company’s logo. Add accents of color or pattern for a bit of flair. Or print full-height imagery for an artistic addition to your space. The design possibilities are endless.
One of the major downfalls of many modern offices is the lack of audio privacy. Especially in open-plan offices, sound carries. On one hand, this is extremely disruptive. Anyone who has tried to concentrate on solo work in a loud environment understands how frustrating this can be. It’s an aggravating battle to maintain focus. But more than that, this is a potentially serious security issue. Private and confidential phone calls suddenly aren’t so secure. Protecting sensitive information shared over phone or video calls is vital for your business.
Luckily there are myriad design solutions for improved audio privacy. Sound absorbing installations are an excellent tool for preventing sound from traveling far. These include sound dampening wall covering, acoustic panels, foam ceiling tiles, and more. Ranging from unobtrusive to colorful sculptural installations, there’s a design for every occasion.
While these provide a more general solution to decreasing interior noise, for total silence (and confidentiality), office pods are a popular choice. Soundproof pods for telephone or video meetings provide a perfect quiet space even within noisy workspaces.
Modern Office Design and Privacy Are Not Incompatible After All
If your modern workplace has some security issues due to lack of privacy, or simply uncomfortable workers, there are a lot of solutions available! This article addresses just a few ways you can address a lack of data, visual or audio privacy. And make your office look great while doing so. If you’re in need of a privacy solution contact MetWest today to get started!