open plan office designs lack privacyWhen you take a look inside some of the country’s top companies, you see rows of employees plugging away at their computers. You see gorgeous glass offices that exude daylight. You see cool lounging areas filled with bright colors and comfy furniture.

What you won’t see are dark walls, closed doors, wood finishes, or big offices. Move over old corporate America; there’s a new kid in town. And who is that new kid? The open plan office.

The Biggest Complaint About Open Plan Offices

Open offices have done a lot of good for employees. Studies have shown employees are happier when there is more daylight and they can freely collaborate which in in turn, boost productivity and job satisfaction.

But there is one major complaint about the open floor plan office: no privacy!

When Privacy Matters in Your Office

Sharing a small workspace with your coworkers is great when you want to collaborate, but what about when you need to have a personal conversation. It’s not very exciting to talk to your doctor’s office in front of your coworkers; nor do they want to know the details of your blood work.

And it’s even more painful when you’ve screwed up at work and get called into the boss’ office – and that the workplace design consists entirely of glass walls. It’s always so nice when everyone can both see and hear your boss reprimanding you…not.

The reality is that open office plan is here to stay. But instead of telling employees to just deal with the lack of privacy, it’s a chance for you to flex your creative muscles and think of ways to adapt and provide more privacy in an open office plan. So, wondering how to create privacy in an open plan office?

Try Different Wall Material Solutions

increase office privacy with frosted glass walls

One place to start is with the walls. Instead of using clear glass for space division, think about other options. Could you use a frosted or textured glass instead? Does the entire wall need to be clear glass or can you just have a portion of the wall made from clear glass?

If you are using movable or demountable walls, making these adjustments to your open office design should be easy. And it’s especially easy with demountable walls to change out panels. That way you aren’t committed to just one option and you can change the mood of the office environment anytime. You can also create enclaves, focus pods, or meeting rooms.


Find Out How Employees Get Work Done

Another solution is to take the time to find out how people are really working and give your staff options of how and where they want to work. Would some employees benefit from working at home? Could you incorporate a designated work area or open space just for sales reps that are constantly in and out of the office?

For example, sales reps are rarely in the office. Most of the time, they’re out meeting with clients or attending events. On the rare occasion they’re in the office, does each sales reps need their own quiet space or can they share?

If they can share a collaborative space, you can have a certain amount of private office space dedicated for sales reps. Each rep can put in a request to book the space when they need time in the office.

This solution gives sales reps the privacy they need to make calls and have meetings, instead of putting them on the floor with everyone else. It also reduces the number of private offices you need if the sales reps are sharing the workspace. And if a sales rep isn’t using the office space, you can offer it up as a conference room for employee meetings.

A flexible office furniture solution allows you to do many different things in just one room. If you are making private office, use mobile workstations that can be connected together to create both a collaborative space and private space.


There’s no doubt the open plan office is here to stay, but the lack of privacy doesn’t have to. Investing in creative solutions like different wall materials or taking a closer look at how your employees get their work done are just some of the ways your business can adapt.

And if you need help implementing or finding additional solutions to make your open office space more private, we’ve got your back. Give us a call at 1-866-448-6071 or send us a message explaining your issues, and we will help you find the right solution.