Long after the demise of Captain Mainwaring, the great aspiration for many an office worker was to be given their own office. Many of those with this aspiration that have nearly achieved it feel that they have been swindled. By the time it was nearing their turn to have a private office, the world had substantially changed to open plan working. It seems generally accepted that an open plan office promotes greater business efficiency, radically improved interaction between office workers involved in similar activities, and certainly reduces the amount of office space needed to have any given number of people.
This has been at a cost, and the cost is lack of privacy. Its true that in early days, unless you had your own office, you didn’t have any privacy anyway, but then perhaps that didn’t really matter as you wouldn’t have been allowed to make a personal call during the day in any case. People do, especially now that everybody has mobile phones, make personal calls during the working day, but where can they go to do this without having everyone listening in? Many go outside buildings, and some go into the office stairwell which is probably little used, but don’t realise that someone else one floor up in the stairwell can hear every word.
Perhaps this isn’t so important, but if it is one of those calls that really does demand privacy (and we all have to make them from time to time) it really could be a problem. A few of the more inspired office fit out designers and contractors have introduced, wait for it, the privacy booth! This is a small glass partitioned area with no desk or phone, merely a sort of shelf work surface, much like the top of a kitchen work unit, and a chair. Here you can go with your mobile phone to make that call, and they are also very useful to get peace and quiet to read a complicated document that demands 100% concentration. Interestingly these incredibly useful areas are so small that they fit into just about any little left over corner after you have done your office layout planning, and hence in space terms, cost little but give privacy.
If you use the office space calculator on this site, the privacy booth will, amongst the many other things, be offered as an option.
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