Designing for the Open Concept - Privacy

The open concept design needs to be functionally designed to support tasks, appear uncluttered, encourage collaboration through designated huddle zones and workstations, and maintain a flexible and fun work environment. One of the main issues companies have when implementing an open concept in their office is the ability to complement openness with privacy. Let us give you some ideas to help design your open office that allows for privacy when required.

Workstation Privacy:

One of the first hurdles to launching an open environment, is giving your employees privacy in an otherwise completely open environment. As the average square footage per worker is shrinking, employees are now on display for everyone to see and this can cause some angst. Adding privacy screens between workstations and filters to computer screens are low cost, and will help employees feel like the whole office isn’t watching their every move.


As walls are taken down, acoustical furniture and materials are important to invest in, ensuring employees can focus and maintain productivity. Choose soft furnishings that absorb sounds and flooring like carpet tiles over hardwood to keep sounds from bouncing around. Also, make sure the design keeps huddle and breakout areas far enough away from workstations so conversations are not interfering with productivity and the ability to stay focused.

Collaborative Privacy:

There are always going to be times where you need to have closed door conversations, where employees need to arrange for personal appointments, call about sick children, or to host conversations with managers and HR. Even if your main workspace is an open concept, allowing for multiple small meeting rooms will provide employees a safe place to take personal calls, and creates space for closed door meetings without interrupting the rest of the office.

Waddell, A GMi Company handcrafts display furniture for the education, corporate, and government markets and has been doing so for over 130 years. Our extensive experience allows us to evolve and create new products that promote collaboration and space division, while showcasing individuality. Learn more about our newest product functionally divides spaces and allows for privacy when needed: Pallet. 


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