With all the distractions of modern life, it’s hard to think straight. We’re constantly under pressure from work and all the other daily complications, and often we forget to sit still and take a deep breath.
Hence the need for something like the Orrb, a womb-like cocoon for office spaces. It’s a place apart from the normal working environment–somewhere we can be ourselves again, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
“As companies encourage their employees to intermingle in open plan offices, they [run the risk] of taking that too far and you get a degradation of personal space,” argues Lee McCormack, founder of Orrb Technologies. “Ten years ago, it was 50-50 whether we needed this. Now it’s almost a necessity because we’re so bombarded with information overload and we need a private space in the office.”
The Orrb is a capsule with a lounge seat inside. The air is filtered to maximize oxygen levels and there’s a noise canceling system to maintain quiet. You sit back and close the door and begin to watch the screen in front of you. It will prompt you to take a breathing exercise, then guide you through a five-minute meditation. You can also take various self-development and learning modules–say, to build up your public speaking skills.
“We gently bring them to the point where they’re really focused, then we can deliver a piece of content, which is either learning or further self-development work,” says McCormack.
McCormack, who’s from London, has been working on the Orrb for more than a decade. He got the original idea while working in Japan (where sleep pods are common) and from studying meditation in the mountains of India.
Orrb Technologies will start shipping the device in March. The price is about $10,000, which doesn’t include monthly subscription costs. Companies buy a license for 50 people at a time; each user gets a smart card allowing them to enter the machine and book time-slots.
In addition to focusing on corporate wellness Orrb is also working with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Friends of Firefighters support group. McCormack says the capsule can help sufferers of PTSD and other stress disorders. “We help unlock the causes of that stress. It’s a safe and secure place where people can open up a little,” he says.