Over the past two decades, there’s been a large corporate push to remove cubicle walls in favor of airy, bright, open office plans.
The idea behind the movement has been to enhance communication and collaboration. Select studies have supported this idea, concluding that the open approach to office design offers many benefits in terms of ideation and creativity.
However, many believe the downside is that open office plans have introduced noise and visual distractions to the workplace that have made it more difficult for workers to stay productive when focusing on individual tasks.
This notion has been backed up by recent articles in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNBC. These publications cite studies that claim more than half of today’s workforce find their office environment too distracting and wish for more quiet workspaces.
In response to this, forward-thinking companies are inventing ways to preserve the collaborative and communicative advantages of an open office plan while restoring some of the quiet and privacy offered by traditional offices and cubicles.
One such company is Luxor, an Illinois-based office furniture company known as an industry leader in developing furniture solutions that foster a more collaborative, functional, and productive work environment. Luxor’s newly-released RECLAIM™ line of “sight + sound-dampening privacy panels” promises to offer a simpler, more affordable solution for minimizing distractions in today’s open work environments.
“When flaws are revealed in an idea or approach, our tendency as humans is sometimes to turn 180 degrees and revert to the old way of doing things,” said Luxor President Paul Roche. “We’re here to say that open office plans aren’t inherently bad. In our view, the advantages outweigh the challenges, so a better approach is to address the shortcomings. Specifically, we set out to design a flexible, affordable product that provides a measure of the quiet and privacy you’d enjoy in an enclosed office without sacrificing the interaction and exchange of ideas that an open plan can foster.”
Roche explained that the RECLAIM line encompasses two product types: acoustic room dividers, and desktop privacy panels. Both are constructed from lightweight, opaque materials that offer a noise reduction coefficient of 0.85 (85% sound reduction). The panels, available in five fabric colors and made from 100% recycled PET, are designed to be easily moved and reconfigured, empowering you to create private spaces when you need them, and foster open communication when you want it.
Highlights of the room dividers include zippered connections which enable the user to create, for example, a barrier between two desks using a single panel, or link an unlimited number of panels together to separate an entire room. Since the connections are flexible, the panels can wrap around a cluster of desks or a meeting table to create temporary rooms.
The desk dividers include back and side-mount panels that are easily installed on most adjustable height desks, as well as many traditional-style desks. Both desk dividers offer adjustable height and can be installed to block the view above a desk (known as a privacy panel), block the view below a desk (known as a modesty panel), or a combination of both.
Roche explained that creative use of these opaque, movable, sound-absorbing panels offer practically unlimited ways to create quiet, private, productive spaces, as well as a separation between areas.
“We’re aware that many companies have made sizeable investments reconfiguring their workspaces into open plans,” Roche said. “Re-installing walls would not only be cost-prohibitive but a waste of resources in our opinion,” Roche said. “The RECLAIM line provides a truly effective means to restore privacy and reduce distractions without placing unnecessary stress on a budget.”
Visit the RECLAIM product overview page to learn more.