Updated June 2020
COVID-19 has changed the way many of us work and collaborate with our coworkers, suppliers and customers. In recent years before the pandemic, the business world had seen a trend toward open office spaces. Silicon Valley giants had bid adieu to the cubicle in the hopes that removing physical barriers would tear down metaphorical ones and lead to increased collaboration between employees.
But that didn't always work. A study found that workers who moved from a traditional office setting to an open plan became less productive and experienced drops in the amount of face-to-face interaction they had with one another. Plus, some people just plain dislike open office spaces. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has introduced other reasons to be cautious about an open office plan.
And while social distancing and Zoom meeting have provided good alternatives for group work and brainstorming, when you're on a deadline and working solo -- or even if you're just trying to hear yourself think -- you need the right office environment. For those times, nothing beats privacy. Here, we lay out the top three benefits of private office space.
Biggest Benefit: Privacy
Even the most sociable or self-proclaimed 'open' among us craves some degree of privacy. In fact, in another recent study, a whopping 95 percent of respondents said being able to work privately was important to them. There's something about not having walls around our computers, phones, and personal work items that gives us that recurring naked-in-school dream feeling. Even if all eyes aren't on our email, we feel like they are or could be at any second.
What about sensitive information? No client wants their confidential matters made easily readable and available to all who step foot on your floor. A private space with no other eyes but your own eliminates that constant worry.
Then there's the personal call, which everyone has to put in during work hours now and again. Who wants to reschedule a colonoscopy or inquire about their toddler's upset tummy within easy earshot of all their coworkers? Not us.
Then There's Productivity
There's a clear and obvious link between open-plan offices and a decrease in productivity, with some data putting the drop at a sizable 15 percent. Why? In large part, it's because of all the distraction. Without walls to blunt the sounds and sights of your neighboring colleagues, your office has, for all intents and purposes, turned into a giant locker room. You may be crunching on an important client deliverable, but since you don't have a door to close, you could be in for a full previous-weekend rundown by the chatty colleague two desks down. This problem all but disappears with a private office.
The Health and Happiness Factor
Workers with private offices and workspaces take fewer sick days than their open-space-sitting counterparts. (Given how many people go to work under the weather, and our recent education on the spread of viruses, it doesn't take complex thinking to see how office walls could be beneficial.) People with private offices or office spaces are also happier, they tend to be less stressed, are more creative, and are better able to concentrate.
Given current conditions, you might be in the market for your own private office space in DC. Metro Offices has nine convenient DC area locations with many space options available, including private offices, dedicated desks, and membership plans. Browse Metro Offices' nine locations today!
Blog originally published December 2018.