Distractions are no joke – every year, they cost companies millions of dollars. And while there are countless studies that cite the effects of poor workplace privacy, today we won’t be publishing another one. Instead, we’ll try something else.
We’ve compiled a list of telltale signs that your office is lacking some privacy. To hammer our point home, we’ll let memes do the talking. Do any of these sound familiar?
Everyone wears headphones when they need to get things done
Don’t get us wrong, headphones (especially noise-canceling ones) are amazing. But workplace experts are just starting to understand the long-term effects. Spontaneity and creativity are limited when people go into the “headphone zone” at work. It also limits awareness of surroundings and conversations or problem-solving that the wearer would have gladly participated in.
People schedule time away from the office for “focus work“
We know… not another article about how people need to go back to the office! But the number one reason the average knowledge worker is fighting for a flexible schedule is because they don’t think they have the tools to focus at work. Why do we know this? Because it’s literally our reason for existing!
NO REALLY, THOSE DIVIDERS TOTALLY GO WITH YOUR AESTHETIC
Your once beautiful office is now littered with piecemeal privacy solutions. If only your space was designed around privacy from the beginning, you wouldn’t have to be emailing an Amazon customer service rep to submit another warranty claim on those flimsy screens.
You have to walk around the building just to answer a phone call
We’ve all seen the “power pacers” circling the perimeter taking calls, gesturing wildly. Offices lack more than just places to do focus work, but also places to take sensitive calls. The advent of the office phone booth has been a welcome one, but this isn’t a one-size-fits-all problem. Designing an office with nooks and crannies to tackle multiple types of private work would be a welcome addition.
Where you sit in the office feels like a political nightmare
Have you ever worked in an office where the hierarchy of desks was treated with more reverence than the Declaration of Independence? “I don’t want to sit there, everyone can see my screen from that angle!” is a thing most people have thought, if not said out loud. It goes beyond that – sitting next to distracting coworkers or people with different work rhythms – all of these things can contribute to an office that feels more like a student union than the campus library.
Your company has invested more in ping pong tables than privacy solutions
If this one stings a little, it’s ok. Companies are rushing to spend money to “give people a reason to come back to the office.” But before you drop five grand on an espresso machine, maybe survey your employees to make sure the workplace is designed to help them tackle the work you’ve given them.
We’re passionate about understanding the types of privacy and ways we can solve the problems of the modern office. That’s why we commissioned our own Continuing Education (CEU) course on the topic. We can’t make space work better if we don’t understand the different ways people actually use space. Do you wish you had the building blocks to solve some privacy issues in your own office? This may help.
Alright, time to take off the headphones and start doing work that matters.