The open office can foster both engagement and collaboration. It can also be a source of disruption and impede productivity if not done correctly. At some point throughout the day, everyone needs to communicate or work privately, whether that's heads down focus work or needing a place to make a call to their doctor. Successful environments are often those that provide employees options. They empower workers to do their best, at the right place and time.

Privacy in the open office can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Here are a few suggestions: background music or white noise can break up the awkward silence or feelings of eavesdropping, movable panels, privacy screens, and plants can help provide a sense of visual privacy and flexibility in the office, soft surfaces with fabrics like wool or felt can help absorb sound, and phone booths or small enclosed meeting rooms can give employees a place to take phone calls and/or have private conversations.

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