Before the pandemic, employees were conditioned to expect and accept less privacy in the workplace. That has changed in the years since Covid. As argued in an article by Forbes, one of the more startling observations decision makers have made is that productivity did not decrease with the work-from-home culture. In fact, it increased.
That was three years ago. Now, with many workers either back in the office full-time or splitting their time between their work office and home office, it’s no wonder that privacy is a concern. Studies have shown that morale and culture is vastly improved when employees feel they have a reasonable amount of privacy and aren’t being monitored.
Thankfully, even with the trend toward open office concepts, privacy is one concern that modern office designs can address with ease. Our solutions are products like commercial window films and more.
Why Office Privacy Is Necessary
There are several functions of privacy in the workplace. At its core, encouraging privacy means empowering employees to determine what and how much information they share with others.
And as has been stated, privacy has been shown to be good for productivity. When employees feel at ease with their environment, they are able to maintain a higher level of concentration.
In fact, Professor Ethan Bernstein of the Harvard Business School was interviewed on this subject. From his observations, employees who know they are being monitored are more likely performing for an audience of managers.
There are four types of important privacy in the workplace.
- Acoustic privacy—the ability to work without having concentration broken by the sound of conversation, phone calls, even general computer sounds.
- Visual privacy—the ability to work free of visual distraction.
- Informational privacy—the ability to keep work content private and have confidential conversations.
- Territorial—the ability to secure one’s own space.
Maintaining Privacy with an Open Office Plan
Many businesses have embraced the open office plan, and there are undoubtedly benefits. The idea behind open office plans is to boost collaboration and creativity among coworkers. Eliminate the need to email by nurturing an environment that supported increased interaction.
A Harvard study, however, suggests that these plans are not fulfilling their intention. Face-to-face interaction decreased with email usage increasing. Collaboration also declined a little more than four hours per day.
What this tells us is that privacy is not only important for employees but for businesses as well. And in an open office plan, managers can help employees secure privacy in the workplace in a number of ways.
- Designated privacy areas or focus rooms—places where employees can go to focus on a specific project or goal. These areas can be visually blocked off with privacy glass, or decorative privacy window film to camouflage the space with the rest of the design aesthetic.
- Huddle rooms—designated spaces where no more than four people can gather to collaborate and idea-share.
- Adjustable furniture—create floating privacy pods with operable glass wall systems. These can be treated with frosted privacy window film or film that converts the transparent glass to function as a whiteboard for collaborative use when privacy is not the goal.
- Privacy glass solutions—apply privacy window films to glass doors and walls. Many modern office designs are trending toward glass for to enhance daylighting and the open space concept. However, clear glass offers little to no privacy. Privacy window film can not only put employees at ease, but also reinforce the glass itself.
Conference Room Privacy Solutions: Commercial Window Films
Office conference rooms tend to be multi-functional. This is where the team meets; it’s also where managers might congregate to discuss and set goals, conduct employee evaluations, interview new talent, meet with clients, and more. In many ways, it is the central hub of office events.
Likewise, the conference room is another place frosted commercial window films prove effective in allowing occupants privacy in their meetings. Decorative privacy window film can be easily customized to match the overall office aesthetic, blending seamlessly with the décor, whether applied to an existing workspace or incorporated into a new construction.
Switchable Privacy Glass Provides Flexibility
Switchable privacy glass, made possible with liquid crystal technology, provides multi-functional options in the quest for office privacy. When powered off, it remains opaque to meet privacy needs. However, it can also be used as a projection screen for presenters and provides dynamic light control, opening a range of possibilities for additional applications.
Privacy is an important component to factor into any office setting, amplifying productivity by emphasizing employee comfort. To learn more about the various options available to maximize office privacy, contact your local CoolVu franchise for support. Our professionals are here to help you find optimal solutions.