The Psychology of Meeting Pods



  • Posted on: 6 November 2023
  • By: admin
Harvey Banner
industry news

Meeting pods have emerged as a dynamic and effective solution to a myriad of communal commercial space quandaries. These compact structures have become synonymous with versatility, adaptability and productivity. But what is it about meeting pods that makes them so effective? 

In this article, we'll delve into the psychological factors underpinning the success of meeting pods, thereby explaining why they’ve become such essential fixtures of commercial spaces - read on to discover the hidden elements that drive their impact!

What Are Meeting Pods?

A meeting pod is a compact, self-contained enclosure designed for various commercial environments. These modular spaces provide a private and comfortable setting for meetings, work, phone calls, relaxing, or collaborative sessions.

Equipped with features like enhanced acoustics, adjustable lighting, and comfortable seating, meeting pods offer a versatile solution to the evolving needs of modern workplaces and other commercial settings.

These pod-like structures come in various forms, from open-fronted and outdoors-optimised like this pod from The Meeting Pod Company:

… to fully enclosed and indoors-optimised like the Hush Hybrid pod pictured below:

Meeting pods can also vary in size to accommodate different workflows or purposes. For instance, some, like the Kolo Solo pod pictured below, are designed to provide an individual with a private space:

… while others, like the Hush Access meeting pod - again, pictured below - are geared more towards inclusive collaborative moments:

But that’s enough surface-level information for now - let’s delve a little deeper and see what benefits meeting pods bring to a commercial space.

The Benefits of Private Space Within a Public Space

Meeting pods, with their compact and adaptable design, offer a range of advantages in commercial environments:

  • Enhanced Creativity: A quiet, private space within a bustling office environment provides employees with a canvas for creativity. It's in these enclosed settings that ideas flow freely, and innovative solutions are born.
  • Keeping Noise at Bay: In open office layouts, noise can be a significant productivity barrier. Meeting pods act as acoustic havens, shielding individuals or teams from interference and allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Removing Distractions: Meeting pods eliminate visual interruptions, allowing employees to focus on their work without the constant pull of what's happening around them.
  • Focus on Collaboration: While offering solitude, meeting pods are equally conducive to collaboration. They serve as ideal hubs for teamwork, where colleagues can come together and share ideas in a made-for-purpose creative space.

Exploring the Psychology of Meeting Pods

Meeting pods are more than just physical structures; they are psychological enablers that profoundly impact the way individuals work and interact in commercial environments. Let's uncover the fascinating aspects that make meeting pods such powerful additions.

Easing Remote Employees Back into the Workplace

With an increasing number of employees following remote and hybrid working models, meeting pods play a crucial role in the process of reintegration. 

The transition from remote work to office work can be daunting, but these enclosed spaces provide a comfortable, private setting that eases employees back into the collaborative atmosphere of the workplace. 

This not only benefits employees, as it reduces anxiety and supports a smoother transition, but it also holds significant advantages for businesses. Proper reintegration ensures that employees return to the office environment feeling confident, motivated, and ready to contribute to the company's success. 

Meeting pods also have a secondary effect - on employees who have remained on-site. By providing private spaces for those returning employees, meeting pods prevent a sudden influx of people inhabiting the open work environment, squeezing the space those already on-site have become accustomed to.

The gradual reintegration of remote workers facilitated by meeting pods maintains a balanced atmosphere for both groups and minimises the potential disruptions that can arise from abrupt changes in workplace dynamics.

Supporting Confidentiality

In today's digital age, maintaining confidentiality has become a paramount concern for businesses and professionals. Whether it's discussing innovative marketing strategies or handling sensitive information, the need for secure spaces to hold confidential conversations is undeniable. Meeting pods offer a valuable solution in this regard, serving as a sanctuary for private discussions, free from intrusion.

Research on the impact of confidentiality suggests people are more open and honest when they feel assured information offered will remain undisclosed beyond the present scenario. Within the confines of private spaces like meeting pods, individuals experience a distinct sense of autonomy and security.

This means that meeting pods with sound baffling facilities, such as the Hush Work Booth, can have a therapeutic quality, and, ultimately, encourage people to be themselves and engage in the sort of outside-the-box thinking that drives innovation. But having discrete spaces in a commercial space isn’t just a solution to boost creativity and wellbeing – meeting pods can also be instrumental in a highly practical, operational sense.

Consider a marketing company facing the challenge of managing potential conflicts of interest while pitching to closely connected clients. In such situations, the need for confidential spaces is clear. Meeting pods offer a secure space where businesses can delineate between clients, maintain confidentiality, and discuss sensitive matters without fear of eavesdropping or unwanted scrutiny.

Personal Space

Personal space is a heavily researched topic in psychological spheres. One study carried out by the University of Nottingham illustrates that breaches of personal space can trigger feelings of anger, discomfort and annoyance, powerful emotions that often override other feelings and inhibit focus - causing major disruption in professional environments.

Further research revealed that, while notions of personal space can differ from person to person, generally speaking, we regard 1 metre of space outward from every point of our body as our private zone. However, this threshold is often either periodically or constantly invaded in busy commercial settings.

Meeting pods offer a refuge within these densely populated areas, providing a controlled space away from the physical and sonic intrusions associated with more general working zones. In these calming micro-environments, employees can concentrate and get on with their work, free from the emotional impact of breaches in their personal space.

Isolating to Connect: Locking in Collaboration

Collaboration isn’t wholly defined by the group of people collaborating; research shows that efficacy and even specific behaviours of the group are very much determined by the environment. 

Elements as seemingly trivial as table shape can vastly impact the nature of collaboration, so, needless to say, optimising the wider surroundings of the group is essential to laying the foundation for effective teamwork - this applies to both learning and working environments.

Meeting pods strike a balance between solitude and collaboration. These spaces are versatile, transforming into hubs for group discussions and brainstorming sessions. The controlled environment of a meeting pod allows employees to lock in their collaborative efforts without external interruptions, ultimately driving innovation and productivity.

Are Meeting Pods Really That Effective?

In a rapidly evolving commercial landscape, the effectiveness of modern solutions like meeting pods is often met with curiosity and scepticism. The critical question we must address is whether meeting pods live up to the hype. Well, the answer is rooted in a profound understanding of the psychological needs of today's workforce. Let's explore the evidence:

Studies have shown that, on average, employees lose a staggering 86 minutes each day to workspace distractions. These distractions are not just time thieves; they chip away at the creative potential of employees, hindering their ability to innovate and excel. Here's where meeting pods make a compelling case for their effectiveness.

According to a survey, approximately 50% of employees consider lack of sound privacy a significant problem. In open office environments where the buzz of activity and conversations is constant, the need for acoustic refuge becomes apparent. Meeting pods offer a solution to this concern, providing sound-insulated spaces where employees can think clearly and communicate effectively.

But what truly underscores the effectiveness of meeting pods is that over 77% of employees prefer an office atmosphere that falls between open and private spaces. This striking preference emphasises the importance of a flexible, balanced workplace environment. Meeting pods, with their adaptability to create both private and collaborative settings, cater to this demand, ensuring that employees have the freedom to choose the environment that best suits their work at any given time.

Meeting Pods in Action

Here at Working Environments, we have an excellent track record of furnishing both in and outdoor spaces with meeting pods that cater to the specific demands of a variety of commercial environments.

Below are just a few examples of how WE implements meeting pods to great effect:

  • Medway Hospital needed to optimise open space in an underutilised area whilst providing a quiet working zone for employees, so we introduced them to the Hush Work Booth, solving both problems with a single, cost-effective solution.
  • A Thames Ditton office required multiple interior redesigns. We provided a wealth of impactful enclosed meeting pods, such as the Hush Twin Pod. But knowing that most employees prefer a blend of open and private workspaces, we also installed a 6-person open meeting pod from The Meeting Pod Company - with a bespoke natural coat!
  • WE simultaneously boosted the privacy and productivity of workers in a TMSW office in Hatfield by providing a variety of Hush meeting units.
  • St. Luke's Hospice, Sheffield, needed a robust, weatherproof, contemporary outdoor meeting space that would be warm and welcoming enough to accommodate workers in the winter. The answer? A sizable office pod that elevated the natural environment and gave refuge to employees seeking a focus-oriented space to deliver their best work.

Final Thoughts

The effectiveness of meeting pods extends beyond physicality; it's deeply rooted in the psychological needs of the modern workforce. These pods create a work atmosphere where distractions are minimised, sound and spatial privacy are respected, and flexibility is the norm - leading to an environment where productivity and creativity thrive.

Working Environments offers an eclectic range of market-leading meeting pods for all commercial environments and a myriad of purposes. Contact us today to discuss which pod can help you optimise your space for both wellbeing and productivity.

« Back