The rapidly growing trend of video collaboration at work – as well as the increased need for privacy – is boosting the demand for soundproof and sound-reducing focus booths in offices across South Africa.
Isla Galloway-Gaul, Managing Director of Inspiration Office, an Africa-wide office space and furniture consultancy said: “There has been a huge increase in the use of video conferencing technology like Skype, Google Meet/Hangouts amongst others in the workplace in the last few years as collaboration at work becomes the new normal way of working.
Collaborating is growing
“Collaborating with colleagues in different cities in South Africa, and around the world, is an important way to get the best outcome for projects and client work by getting all relevant people in one place on a video call.”
Booths that block – or substantially reduce sound – are in demand as people can quickly pop into a booth and not disturb other people around them while on a call. Booths are also mobile so can be added to and moved around different parts of an office space when they are needed. It is also much quicker to install booths an in office, rather than looking for extra office space or renovating existing space.
A greater sense of privacy
Another advantage of booths is the sense of privacy offered to workers – especially those in one plan offices.
Said Galloway-Gaul: “When someone feels that they are working in a private space, their job performance improves. If an employee is talking on the phone, for example, they may feel more comfortable talking to a client, building a rapport, and working out a deal than they would with their colleagues listening in on the conversation.”
Office booths allow for more control
One of the big psychological repercussions of an open-plan office is the lack of control on the part of your employee. “This can lead to subconscious feelings of helplessness. There’s no way to get away from the noise, nowhere to find any privacy, and no choice as to their work environment,” Galloway-Gaul noted.
When you add a separate booth that employees are allowed to use when they need to, you give them back that control. This leads to greater productivity, higher morale, and better job satisfaction.
Workers often say that even if they don’t use the privacy offered by a booth, just knowing it’s available to them lowers their stress levels.
The need to cut out unnecessary noise
The distraction of noise at work, even in the background, can be very distressing on a mental level. That means an increase in stress levels, which can be very significant over time. Loud noises cause people to pause in their work, lose focus, and have to restart tasks because their concentration is lacking.
“Even if you can’t see this happening, it is almost guaranteed to be the case for all employees working in an open-plan or noisy office. With a booth, those problems are completely eliminated, “ Galloway-Gaul concluded.