The long-awaited day has arrived, and Steelcase Quiet Spaces have been unveiled. This collection of office architectural components was conceived in collaboration with Susan Cain, noted introvert, TED talker, and bestselling author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. She stands as a calm, firm voice representing employees everywhere who would rather be left alone to do their work. That’s not a small minority. More than 1/3 of workers fall into the introvert category—and their needs aren’t being met in the overly open, hyper-social workspaces of today.
When Susan was talking, Steelcase was listening.
Now, the office furniture giant has made great strides toward creating a more inclusive yet less overwhelming work environment for their shy employees. Quiet Spaces are designed to fill this need even in today’s high-density offices. These spaces meet four basic needs of introverted personalities at work.
Introverts are consistently the source of some of the best ideas in business—but only when their need to be alone is respected. Employers who provide quiet spaces show that they value what introverted employees bring to the table.
Dialing It Down
Overstimulation is one of the curses of a modern office. Introverts need to have more control over sound levels and lighting to promote comfort and improve their ability to focus.
Enjoying the Setting
Some stimulation is actually desirable for introverts. Organic materials and wood veneers with warm tones and attractive textures help create a safe haven.
Avoiding Prying Eyes
For an introvert, a normal day at the office can trigger stage fright. They feel like everyone is looking at them. Having visual privacy, even for short periods of time, provides a chance to relax. (The glass walls in the photo are used to show the interior of the space, the real walls are more opaque.)
The Concept Starts with Architecture and Technology
These small work rooms are built with V.I.A. (Vertical Intelligent Architecture) for real sound privacy. All frames, skins, and junctions are manufactured with full acoustical seals to keep outside noise out—and inside noise in. The intelligent walls can be equipped with built-in monitors to amplify digital content. Lighting is also part of the package, giving users control over the brightness of their refuge.
What about scheduling? The RoomWizard II gives introverts the option to reserve a Steelcase Quiet Space at a moment’s notice or well in advance. That’s handy for workers who know they need to recharge at a specific time each day, such as after a busy, noisy meeting.
Stay tuned next week for more details about Quiet Spaces…