Are you tired of your office cubicle, but not quite ready to embrace open plan offices? If so, keep your fingers crossed that your company will embrace the new office pod trend, as embodied by the new Mindport interior furnishing systems from Lista Office. A sort of hybrid between the cube, the private office, and the totally open work environment, these units offer a hipper way to get a little privacy in a bustling office. The question is, will they catch on?
As with all academic questions, the answer here is “maybe.” Pods have some definite benefits and drawbacks. Let’s start with the negatives, so that we can end on a cheerier note.
1. Close Quarters: As DVice.com points out, some of the models provide privacy from people who sit outside your work area — but force you to get pretty cozy with the other folks sitting in your multi-person unit. This has the potential to be everything that you hated about living in the dorms in college, without the free beer.
2. Limited Space: The Think Tank model is intended to provide space for workers to collaborate on team projects, but its limited size means it’s really only good for a few people at a time. You could probably just stay in your multi-person pod for that.
3. Price: There’s no list price on the Lista Office website, but we’re betting these slick new designs aren’t going to go for pennies. Budget-minded office planners will probably be better off looking into used office cubicles or furniture.
1. Esthetics: We’re not going to claim that all office pods look amazing, but these ones definitely do. You would totally feel like you were in a science fiction movie the whole time you were working in one of these pods. They’re just gorgeous.
2. Individuality: Even if your company filled the whole building with identical units, there’s no way these could ever give you that rat-in-the-maze feeling that some older cubicle systems (but not ours!) used to give their occupants. You might feel like you’re in the Matrix, but you’d never feel like you were looking for some cheese.
3. Comfort: These models offer some seriously plush-looking seating, which will seem especially appealing to anyone who has ever had to make do with a secretly less-than-ergonomic desk chair. It definitely looks like a cozy place to work.
In the end, this will probably come down to financial considerations. If office pods become available for prices similar to that of standard cubicles, companies will consider adopting them. If not, they almost certainly won’t. After all, open plan offices provide loads of places to collaborate, and they’re cheap; cubicles offer more privacy than open workspaces, and they’re pretty inexpensive as well. For office pods to really take off, they’d have to provide the best of both worlds — at a price lower than either of them. We’ll have to wait and see.