Office essentials: the pod

6 min read
Office essentials: the pod
November 12th, 2018

In this new article series, Airtame explores the different types of meeting rooms and collaborative spaces every well-functioning organization needs. Next up is the “room within a room”, or ‘Office pod’

Picture one of these situations:

1) You’re awaiting an urgent call from a client, and your colleagues are loudly discussing today’s lunch nearby.

2) An upcoming deadline is nagging you while your co-workers are coming at you from all fronts with other requests.

3) You need to prepare a verbal presentation and want to go over how it sounds – aloud. Where do you see yourself performing such tasks?

Office pods. That’s your answer. 

The essentials:

If you haven’t heard of office pods yet, it’s time you familiarized yourself with the term; they are all the rage. Here’s our take on what office pods are, who they’re for and how to set them up.

Don’t forget to check out our rundown of the much-hyped and misunderstood “huddle room

What is an office pod?

Pods are almost entirely self-contained spaces that give the solitary worker a private area to concentrate, away from the office’s distractions and noises. Essentially, they’re a “room within a room” – many of them can even be moved around.

A lot of the time, they look like advanced phone booths with all four walls (often glass), a ceiling, seating for a single person and the necessary gear to get work done. They provide a quiet, private area for all kinds of workers, no matter the department. It sounds like a simple setup, but we’ll get back to what’s in them a little later.

Office booth next to an English-looking phone booth

An ever-growing number of companies are literally tearing down walls in favor of open office plans, as well as sharing their workspaces with other companies.

While the open office plan breeds socialization and collaboration, it’s not the best environment for introverts, noise-sensitive people, those who spend a lot of their work hours on the phone, or those who are looking for a secluded, private area to focus.

Where do you go to get “in the zone”? The solution to that could very well be the budget-friendly pods. And why is that? Well, a sound-resistant, distraction-free area is a bonus in all open floor plans where secluded areas are few and far between. A pod can be used as space for:

The key elements of office pods

There are several types of ‘pods’ or ‘privacy pods’, and some of them are just rearranged furniture. To us, the office pod is a little bit more advanced. If you’re still trying to picture a phone booth on wheels, you’ve pretty much got the idea. This is how we classify them:


Here’s the deal with office pods; they’re not only smaller than any type of room you’re likely to find in any office besides a bathroom stall, but they’re also easy to move too (Inc describes the miniature work zones here).

Even if you change your office plan or need the office pods to help out in a different area of your organization, it’s not like you have to build them from scratch somewhere else. Many pods can be moved around as you wish, giving you much more flexibility than regular rooms.


Fully sealed, sound-proof, distraction-free. Sounds like the perfect place for you to focus. Noise is inevitable in any place of work. Your office pod is your chance to take a breather and work without distractions.


Instead of having to build an extra room for the people who want a little extra concentration, you get an office pod. It’s streamlined, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to install and move around.


A standard phone booth-sized pod will cost anything from $4,500-8,000 depending on location, materials and gadgetry (the beautiful one below – which is nearing the top end of the price bracket – is from the design-conscious Finnish company Framery).  Pods with room enough for more people are of course more expensive too. Getting a customized pod is cheaper than constructing a new conference room, and doing so is prohibitive. Pods have the advantage of being mobile whereas rooms and walls usually stay where they are.

Soundproof call booth


Office pods shouldn’t just be for clacking away on your keyboard. Put in a screen, and you’ve got video conferencing in a private area plus idea visualization for the team member in the pod.

Pods are versatile in regards to the kind of work you can do in them, but definitely also the way of working itself. The best office pods allow both seated and standing work, making them a great ergonomic choice.


Office pods are often enclosed with translucent glass. Why? Just because the worker in the pod is shielded from the surrounding chaos doesn’t mean you should exclude them entirely. A glass panel will help open up the layout and make the pod feel like less of an intrusive force.

The “open” setup makes it less claustrophobic and allows for the individual to look out on the rest of the team, and for the team to quickly identify where a colleague is and/or when the pod is pre-occupied.

How to set up successful office pods

Office pods are for solo productivity and concentrated work. They should be used by many types of employees, so, much like with huddle rooms, keep the decorative efforts to a minimum and let the pod’s purpose shine instead.

Office pods can come in many sizes, some only fit to hold one standing worker, while others fit two people. We think you’ll get the most out of a medium-sized pod for just one worker to sit or stand while the focus on their tasks.

Office pods

Find a pod that’s outfitted with a desk, chair, and at least one glass door. Get an office pod with wheels. Your workspace is sure to change over time, and you don’t want to discard the pod just because you moved around the rest. Think of the pod as part of the furniture, use it as a divider or even a decorative element (seriously, some of them look very elegant).

Office pods should be easy to occupy, but seeing as they’ll be popular among all types of workers, there should be an option to book them on a company’s shared calendar instead of on a first come, first served basis. Make sure there’s a display outside the pod so that people can see when/if the pod is booked next.

Meeting inside of an office pod

Office pod technology

Motion-activated ventilation system and a skylight sound impressive, but it’s okay if you go for a less fancy option. Just make sure there are numerous electrical outlets, natural lighting and an ergonomic setup for laptops. Additional displays to connect to probably won’t be necessary either.

The great news is that office pods come fully equipped when you buy them from the manufacturer (Samsung, Lyft and Meetup use Zenbooth, an eco-friendly and readymade solution), so all you have to worry about is assembling it in a jiffy and then reaping the benefits.

Are office pods for you?

Do you have a problem with people occupying the conference rooms just to take a phone call? No private areas to go? Working in an open office plan? Then office pods could be for you.

If you already have areas focused on privacy, then maybe you don’t need the pods in your office.

While the open office plan is great for transparency and inclusive, it’s also a more distracted way of working because every conversation and decision is public.

It comes down to productivity versus socializing, and in our opinion, you need both things to lead a successful business. Your work area should be flexible enough to accommodate both things as well as the different types of employees you’re likely to encounter; both introverts and extroverts.

Interested? Let’s talk.


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