What is the Ideal Panel Height for Post-Pandemic Workspaces?

What is the Ideal Panel Height for Post-Pandemic Workspaces?

Did you switch your high cubicle panels to low or not having any in your office space? 

Open office collaboration has been the buzz for the past 3-5 years. You might be familiar with benching, hot desking and hotelling. We recently changed our graphic on our website as seen above to show the difference it can make. 

The open office was the “trend,” but if you ask me, the optimal compromise is seated privacy for ideal productivity and safety. This means the panel separation between staff is a minimal height of 50” high; you can look at your computer and not see the eyes of the person in front of you. The panel will also assist in shielding germs, as well as, ensure visual privacy to keep people on task with heads down work. 

My team is separated by 53” high panels and it works exceptionally well. They can stand up to talk over a panel if needed to take a break or they can spin around and be at a shared table if they choose to collaborate, while also having the privacy and focus they need to be productive and safe.

Per a study in Sweden, there are twice as many sick days for staff in an open office concept with no panels. Now more than ever, we are at the lowest productivity in the history of the workplace and 75% of all offices have converted to the open office. Yes, they will have less real estate and save on rent but at what cost? I am not saying everyone needs to go back to private offices but of all the employees we have surveyed, no one in accounting, HR, or management has expressed they want to sit out in the open with zero privacy, due to confidentiality.

You might say they can reserve a room to have privacy, but how many times are all those rooms full? I recently interviewed a CFO, and he was so frustrated that they took away his office and had to resort to private conversations in a stairwell to get away from his team. The CFO did indeed get a private office moving forward because 85% of his job required confidentiality, he is now finally happy and productive.

Yes, safety is the key moving forward but if you are going to revamp your office, were your staff happy and productive in the previous layout? Will the office space need to change after COVID-19 to get them back in the office again? Will your office need to downsize, since more staff will work from home? 

Did you know that 51% of knowledge industry corporations have not announced a return to work plan according to a national SHRM survey? However, your workspace needs to be reimagined, and we conducted a survey about the changes employees want to see. Glean insights from our survey findings here.

This is all food for thought, we can guide you to a cost-effective solution by possibly adding stackers to panels and or reconfiguring. Learn more about our post-pandemic Workplace Productivity Analysis® and contact us today for a consultation.

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