The New Solution to Open-Office Chaos

Clear partitions provide introverts and those in need of some peace and quite with a refuge from the annoyances of working without walls

Written by Deborah Aarts

Open-concept offices stimulate creativity, foster teamwork and nicely complement the flex-work schedules which many organizations are moving toward, so it’s no surprise cubicle partitions or (perish the thought!) walls are almost taboo in today’s workplaces.

But the truth is that a lot of people—especially introverts—really hate working in loud, boundary-free zones, and it’s affecting output: According to a 2013 study in The Journal of Environmental Psychology, productivity in open-concept offices can lag by 15%.

How do you square those concerns with the free-flowing ethos of 21st-century work? By giving employees a space to cocoon in plain sight, like the Paris headquarters of architecture firm Pons and Huot, where workstations are encased in clear Plexiglas domes. The concept might feel like the bastard offspring of The Jetsons and Dwell magazine, but the pods preserve sightlines, muffle sounds and contain the pungency of tuna sandwiches.

This article is from the May 2016 issue of Canadian Business. Subscribe now!


What do you think of Pons and Hout’s solution to open-office chaos? Is a wall-less workplace really necessary? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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