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How to Create a Sense of Privacy in Shared Workspaces

John Allen
John Allen
How to Create a Sense of Privacy in Shared Workspaces

Shared workspaces help entrepreneurs thrive by facilitating collaboration and minimizing distractions. Their open spaces, without enclosures, inspire members to think freely and remove any limits on their aspirations. But these aspirations can never be realized if workspaces don’t provide enough privacy for coworkers to be productive.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can establish a sense of privacy in your shared workspace to allow members to stay focused. By adopting these techniques, you’ll be able to attract more customers to your coworking spaces.

Ensure Members Are Aware of Shared Workspace Etiquette

When working in a coworking space, just like in any office environment, members should be mindful of the people around them. It’s helpful to establish a few ground rules to hold members accountable for maintaining a private and productive work environment.

Create and display signage that asks members to abide by the following rules:

1. Keep noise to a minimum

Everyone accepts a certain level of background noise in a shared space, but you should encourage members to wear headphones when they’re playing music and attending online meetings.

A remote employee might be used to blasting music and chatting loudly over video calls to colleagues, but you must remind them that they’re in a common area and that there are separate spaces within the coworking space where they can take calls and listen to music.

2. Respect others’ boundaries

To maintain a sense of privacy in a shared workspace, workers must be considerate of other people’s space. Members should be aware, for example, that if they have a lot of stuff with them, they should make sure pens and books don’t encroach upon other people’s territory. And that if there’s plenty of space available, they should leave a seat between hot desks to allow everyone ample room and avoid disturbing others.

Make use of pictures in your signage to demonstrate what an environment in which workers’ space is respected looks like.

3. Stick to room booking schedules and don’t hog quiet areas

If members overrun on allotted time in their booked quiet areas, this will have a domino effect on everyone else’s scheduling and access to a private work environment. Remind them that this is not acceptable and enforce consequences for serial offenders- like not being able to book a room for a period of time.

You should also ensure that members don’t make block bookings of rooms for an extended period. If they’re able to work in common spaces for most of the day, they should be making use of these and allowing others the opportunity to avail themselves of quiet spaces.

Set up a self-service room booking system to improve customer experience and save time for staff

Add Partitions to Give Members Their Own Space

There’s no need to abandon open floor plans. Nor should you consider building walls to separate coworkers. Instead, experiment with fresh and imaginative spatial design concepts to provide privacy without boxing members into cubicles.

Partitions are cost-effective and easy to set up for the sake of creating a more private working environment in shared spaces. You can choose from temporary or permanent installations and have these customized to accommodate any area.

Partitions come in a variety of designs and sizes, so there are lots of types to choose from. If you're not sure where to begin, here are some options to consider:

1. Partitioning walls

These are not permanent or weight-bearing constructions. Temporary walls form a visible barrier between sections. You can place them between workstations to give members a real sense of their own space.

Just as cloud phone systems and collaboration apps play a huge part in enhancing internal cloud marketing efficiency, giving marketers a private space to collaborate with colleagues, partitions provide a space for coworkers to come together and discuss their work privately to maximize productivity.

If you want to create a more homely atmosphere, wooden partitions are a less harsh and more organic-looking option. You’ll be able to pick from a selection of designs, colors, and finishes to help these blend seamlessly with your workspace’s aesthetic.

2. Glass partitions

glass walls at a coworking space

These are a more sophisticated and contemporary alternative to cubicle dividers. They offer sound insulation and allow natural light to pass through them, making small areas feel more open and spacious.

To establish an even greater sense of privacy, you can customize the glass with a frost or tint.

You can also use glass walls to construct private conference rooms or enclosed workplaces. Keep in mind that glass barriers may be rather pricey. So they might not be the best solution if you have a limited budget.

3. Plant partitions

You can also use plants to build partitions and divide up larger spaces.

These is a great option if you want to add some freshness and greenery to your flex space. Plants bring color and vitality to a space and filter the air, enhancing indoor air quality. They’ll help you establish a sense of personal space for workers without making anyone feel enclosed or trapped in.

This approach will ensure that members don’t have issues with lighting and won’t limit their workspace.

Establish Quiet Areas

There's no disputing that open workplaces can be loud. To deal with noise and allow workers to concentrate on their tasks, consider establishing quiet areas.

A quiet area is any enclosed room that provides a noise-free environment for remote employees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. You might choose to designate an underutilized conference room as a quiet area, for example.

Members won’t have to worry about being interrupted; they can do their work, rest during a break, or take a call without loud noise disturbance.

To ensure workers can access quiet spaces when they need them, you could set up a booking system to offer them the opportunity to book out conference rooms for specific times or days.

Introduce Private Collaborative Workspaces

Create separate areas for members who want to communicate, network, or work on a project together. Let’s say a company is establishing a collaborative hiring strategy and needs a location in which heads of departments can convene on a quarterly basis; these workspaces would be a perfect choice.

You should consider placing elevated tables in these areas. These allow workers the option to sit or stand away from their desks and, as such, boost collaboration. This makes them ideal for quick meetings, brainstorming, or coffee and lunch breaks.

Install a Phone Booth

A phone booth may appear to be an uncommon workplace amenity, but this will afford members more privacy.

This isn’t, of course, a regular phone booth with a regular landline phone. Instead, you'll need to invest in one developed especially for the office environment that accommodates workers using VoIP phone systems for businesses. You may be wondering, “what does VoIP mean?”. Well, VoIP stands for (Voice over Internet Protocol).

How do VoIP phones work? This tech allows voice signals to be carried over the internet instead of via phone lines. This means members can communicate over voice calls, video, and many other digital platforms using their choice of device.

You can use VoIP phone adapters so that you can get the benefits of both analog and digital phone systems, such as being able to call non-IP phones while also being able to connect to computers and fax systems.

Your phone booth should be composed of soundproof materials and include an integrated desk, outlets for devices, such as an auto dialler alarm, and the ideal lighting for video conferencing.

Based on the space you have available, you should consider whether you’d like to build a modest, one-person booth or a bigger one to accommodate two to four workers. This will offer a private and peaceful spot in which workers can carry out meetings undisturbed.

Members changing from being office or home-based to working in a shared office may need to do a phone number portability check to make sure they can easily switch between phone providers as necessary while keeping the same number. There is no guarantee that they will get the same kind of signal from different providers in a different location, or they may have access to a better deal through a different company.

Equip Yourself With All the Necessary Technology

1. Charging outlets and power sources

Installing individual charging outlets and power sources at desks means that members will never need to share these and disturb the work of others to plug in/unplug devices. This limits the potential for distraction.

2. Coworking space software

Just as newly developed processes and procedures, and manufacturing industry solutions are invaluable tools for manufacturers, coworking space software is indispensable for shared workspace owners. This solution integrates desk and room bookings, invoicing, membership plans, and community management into a single platform. Investing in such a solution will help you maintain control over your workspace and uphold the privacy of your members.

Membership administration, scheduling and booking, occupancy monitoring, and visitor management are all standard features of coworking space platforms.

These will allow workers to book private meeting rooms and quiet areas so that they’re able to guarantee time without disturbance. Allowing members to view the number of workers in areas of the shared space on a given day at a given time, will help them determine if booking a private area will be more beneficial.

Boost Member Productivity by Allowing Them Privacy

Workers enjoy the flexibility, sociability, and openness that shared office spaces provide. Still, there are legitimate worries about protecting privacy in these settings. Fortunately, you can utilize the strategies above to differentiate your coworking space from others and ensure that workers who use your offices have the highest level of privacy while enjoying the collaboration opportunities that these workspaces facilitate.

You should also consider soliciting feedback from workers and use this as a smoke testing tool in your journey to establishing privacy and promoting productivity.

The article was written by John Allen. John is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue.

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