By now, you’ve read plenty of articles extolling the virtues of open plan offices. And we concede that they are less expensive, more collaborative, and just plain cooler to look at than stuffy cubicles. However, there’s one small problem with the open office, and that’s privacy.
Fortunately, where there’s a need, there are companies that want to sell you something to fill that need. These are a few of our favorite new products designed to offer just a little bit of old-fashioned privacy in an open office world.
Essentially a high-end cubicle for people forced to toil away in a world without walls, the “Me Place” offers privacy — and style. And they are stylish. PearsonLloyd calls them a place where “workers can remove themselves from the background noise and distraction associated with the general office when they require a space for total concentration.” FastCompany calls it a cubicle that “won’t make you want to gouge your eyes out.” We call it adorable, and want one for our home office.
Urban Office Interiors sells a wide range of privacy screens in every conceivable shape and hue. (Seriously: there are curved screens, flat screens, screen pods … it’s like a festival of privacy over there.) If your company won’t supply you with walls, we fully support your right to put some up wherever you happen to be sitting. Bonus points if you move the screen with you over the course of the day.
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not it’s a good idea to wear headphones in the office, so we’ll shelve that for now, and suggest that the real problem in the open office isn’t just the noise … it’s being able to see your coworkers lurking behind you out of the corner of your eye. The solution is obviously to start wearing giant 1980s style sunglasses with blinders on the side. As an added benefit, if you wear these, your coworkers will think you’re so odd, they’ll stop sneaking up on you altogether. Everyone wins!