Your open office makes you less productive, more stressed out, and might even be the reason that you just got a cold. But if your company isn’t planning an office redesign anytime soon, here’s another solution: The Nutshell is a concept for a pod you can wrap around yourself when you need to get away from your coworkers.
Though it might not look very practical, it’s based on the very real idea that most of us need a little privacy–and breaks away from work–to better focus and concentrate the rest of the time.
“The main idea behind Nutshell is to promote healthy and productive break taking,” says designer Eden Lew, a masters student in the School of Visual Art’s Products of Design program. “People who schedule in a short time for relaxing and taking in the moment are more productive, and less likely to burn out. It’s a simple intervention into the life of a stressed-out student or worker.”
It’s probably not the best solution for anyone with claustrophobia, but Lew says she likes wearing the pod, which is just roomy enough to take a quick nap. “The Nutshell blocks out all light, so I’ve fallen asleep many times while trying it on,” she says. “I’ve also eaten lunch inside! You just have to remember to bring a napkin.”
As Lew developed the concept for a class project, she also envisioned an accompanying app that would provide guided meditation or podcasts to help someone make the most of their break inside the pod. She also incorporated the idea of “social solitude,” inspired by a classmate–after taking a break, introverts could share their experience with others.
“Solitude shouldn’t be viewed as the lonely act of shutting out the rest of the world. Solitude should mean spending time alone to recharge and think,” she says. “The app I designed also had a platform for Nutshell-ers to record and self-publish their own podcasts. I wanted users to be connected into a community of active break-takers and to share and listen to the stories of each other.”
Though it’s just a concept, Lew is considering the possibility of making it. “After seven weeks, my project is at the point where I can ask, ‘Now that I’ve envisioned a product, brand, service and platform, does society actually need this?'” she says.