Rules of thumb for choosing a suitable pod
Small phone booth or larger conference space?
Selecting, furnishing and situating the right-sized pod should start with defining a clear purpose for the space. For starters, ask the employees or other users of the space what challenges they face in their current work environment and what their needs are in terms of the workspace: what kind of space would support them in their work and work processes?
Often the biggest problem in shared workspaces is the lack of peace and quiet to focus on work. If the vast majority of employees perform independent cognitive work in an open space, the office pods should support dialogue and collaboration. Having a dedicated chat room spares others from the distraction of conversations and allows those in the shared work environment to focus on what they are doing. If the common work area is used primarily for collaborative work, however, pods are needed for intense cognitive work and for making private phone calls.
A flexibly sized pod that can accommodate several people can almost instantly resolve many challenges related to using shared spaces. A two-person pod, for example, can function as a phone booth, a quiet workspace or a negotiation space.
How many spaces are needed?
One pod is seldom enough to serve the needs of a large group of users. The need for pods often arises acutely. Peace and quiet is best achieved in a shared workspace when a quick call or meeting with a colleague can be conveniently moved away from the open area. It is therefore important that the spaces are available on short notice, and there must be enough of them to meet demand.
A good rule of thumb for a suitable number of pods is one phone booth for every five employees and one quiet workspace or conference room for every ten employees.
The right number of pods varies according to the situation, so it’s always a good idea to establish what is needed from the users themselves.
Where should a pod be placed?
The size of the surrounding space sets the parameters for choosing a pod. If the users of the space have different needs, but the premises can easily accommodate only one pod, it is wise to choose a larger pod that can be used more flexibly.
Achieving a pod that serves its purpose well is easy. Decide how the space should be arranged in order to allow smooth and easy access to and around the pod. For example, phone booths should be placed as close to work stations as possible so that people can quickly enter the booth when their phone rings. It is not always possible to situate a pod nearby – in this case, ensure that the routes to it are open and easy to access.
Pods should be situated in the work environment such that it is easy to see at a glance whether the space is occupied instead of having to walk by it.
Tips for comparing pods
When selecting a suitable pod, factors to consider include not only the purpose for which the pod will be used, but also the features of the pod.