Open-plan offices have become a hallmark of modern workplace design, favoured for their ability to inspire collaboration, flexibility, and a sense of community among employees.

However, this layout often comes at the cost of personal privacy and can lead to distractions and reduced productivity.

Balancing the open office’s benefits with the need for privacy is crucial for maintaining a productive work environment.

This article explores the top strategies for adding more privacy to your open-plan office design without sacrificing its collaborative spirit.

Acoustic Solutions

Noise is one of the most significant challenges in open plan offices.

Implementing acoustic solutions can help mitigate this issue, enhancing privacy and concentration.

Consider installing sound-absorbing materials such as acoustic panels on walls and ceilings, carpeting to reduce foot traffic noise, and sound-masking systems that emit white noise to neutralize conversations.

Desk dividers with sound-absorbing properties can also provide immediate relief for individuals in densely populated areas.

Flexible Workstations

Introduce flexible workstations that allow employees to choose where and how they work based on their privacy needs.

Adjustable desk systems and movable partitions can enable workers to configure their own semi-private spaces as needed.

Incorporating standing desks or desk pods can also offer alternatives for those seeking to step away from the communal workspace for tasks requiring more focus or confidentiality.

Private Pods and Phone Booths

Dedicated private pods or phone booths within the office can offer a refuge for confidential calls, focused work, or simply a quiet break.

These small, enclosed spaces are designed to be soundproof, providing an essential privacy layer in an open office setup.

Ensure these pods are readily accessible and bookable to accommodate various needs throughout the workday.

4. Strategic Plant Placement

Plants are not only beneficial for office aesthetics and air quality, but can also serve as natural dividers that enhance privacy.

Tall plants or green walls can create soft barriers between different office zones or workstations, offering visual privacy and a more pleasant work environment.

This strategy adds a touch of nature to the office while subtly delineating spaces without the need for traditional partitions.


Create distinct zones within the open plan office for different activities, such as collaborative work, socializing, and quiet, focused tasks.

This can be achieved through furniture arrangements, colour coding, or varying floor levels.

Zoning helps manage traffic flow and noise, allowing employees to select areas suited to their immediate privacy needs and work preferences.

Visual Privacy Solutions

Visual distractions can be as disruptive as auditory ones.

Incorporate visual privacy solutions like frosted glass dividers, movable screens, or even smart glass that turns opaque with the flick of a switch.

These solutions can provide privacy on demand without permanently segmenting the open space, maintaining the office’s overall openness and flexibility.

Technology Integration

Leverage technology to support privacy in open plan offices.

For instance, booking systems for private pods or meeting rooms can streamline the process of finding a quiet space.

Additionally, noise-cancelling headphones can be provided to employees as a personal tool to control their auditory environment.

Open plan offices, while designed for openness and collaboration, do not have to come at the expense of privacy.

By implementing strategic design elements and innovative solutions, it’s possible to create a workspace that balances the need for interaction with the necessity for private, focused work.

Paradigm Office Interiors have extensive experience working with a diverse range of clients on a wide-range of office refurbishment and fit out projects throughout Birmingham, the West Midlands and nationwide.