Employers typically want to achieve 4 things when they start arranging office furniture:
- Make efficient use of space
- Ensure productivity
- Promote collaboration
- Make workers comfortable
Unfortunately, these goals can sometimes come into conflict with each other. This has led to a lot of experimentation with workstation configurations over the years – with mixed results. It can be difficult to achieve everything you want with one layout. That’s why objective #4 on the list above is usually given the lowest priority in an effort to save space. For example one of the most awkward arrangements for coworkers is to have their desks directly adjoining so they are facing each other. They end up just a few feet from the person sitting across from them. People in Western cultures tend to have a sense of personal space that extends out further than that. So, employees may spend all day every day at work feeling like someone is “in their space” or “in their face”.
This problem is compounded if one coworker tends to:
- Make an aggressive amount of eye contact
- Eat foods that produce bad breath
- Talk too much or too loudly
If you’ve ever been stuck across the desk from someone like this, you know how grating it can be. One solution to this problem is to let employees pick who they sit across from. However, that approach is likely to lead to a never ending game of musical chairs as people change their minds. Plus, there will always be a few employees that no one wants for a workstation partner. The more sensible way to solve this problem is by adding a simple divider to separate the worksurfaces. Our desk-mounted privacy panels make it so that coworkers can work together in peace – even if they can’t stand the sight of each other!