A lack of privacy and noise disruption in the workplace are both longstanding issues, particularly since the rise of open-plan offices and collaborative breakout spaces during the past decade. There are many solutions now available on the market designed to combat these problems, but are they enough to respond to the recent Zoom boom.
In this article, we explore the concept of hybrid working and what it means for the modern workplace. We’ll then hone in on the increased lack of privacy and noise disruption that hybrid working could be set to cause as people start heading back into the office, before offering our expert advice on how to make it work for your business and its employees.
The rise of hybrid working and what it means
In our article demystifying the office design buzzwords of the moment, we touched on the topic of hybrid working. Hybrid working means combining various different ways of working, beyond the traditional 9-5, office-based, dedicated desk model. Most commonly, we expect this hybridity to manifest as a blend of remote and resident working as more employees will be permitted to work flexibly and from home.
As people come and go more freely and the workplace becomes more of a dynamic ecosystem of moving parts we can expect to see the following:
- Video meetings
- Phone calls
- More physical movement around the space
- Increased noise levels as people take video calls with externals or internal colleagues who are based elsewhere or working remotely
- More collaborative sessions as people use the office as a base to come together and share ideas, which again, will contribute to more movement and noise within the space
- Less privacy and pockets of quiet as people become more nomadic in their approach to where, when and how they work, rather than being anchored to an assigned desk.
At the moment, as businesses ride through a period of flux and pivot in response to the pandemic, those in the office are having to take video calls and hold video-based meetings at their desks or in meeting rooms.
However, neither of these are really sustainable, long term solutions because:
- Holding a video call at your desk offers no privacy and can be extremely disruptive to other members of staff working around or alongside you.
- Taking up a larger meeting room or breakout area to find quiet or privacy to tune into a video call isn’t an economical use of space.
So, does this mean that the modern workplace is now calling for a new, reactive solution?
Perhaps new ways of working now require a “Zoom room” – or something along those lines. A small, dedicated space which can be used specifically by those joining video meetings or taking calls, to negate noise disruption and lock of privacy.