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Open Office Getting You Down? Maybe You Need An Office Treehouse

If you can’t focus, perhaps you just need a little change of scenery to something more rustic.

Open offices seem to cause more problems than they solve. Noise makes us more stressed, less motivated, and less creative. We’re more likely to get sick. Listening to coworkers–even if we think we’ve tuned them out–can impair memory and even basic math skills. And every time we’re interrupted, it takes around 23 minutes to get back to whatever we were doing before.

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More than 75% of offices have open layouts now. For companies unwilling to fully remodel, here’s a partial solution: Treehouse-inspired pods that someone can climb inside when they need to concentrate. If a small group wants to have a meeting, they can roll two halves of a treehouse together.

“Office spaces are becoming totally open and fluid environments, with minimum areas of built structures,” says designer Dymitr Malcew. “Technology enables us to work away from desk and the workflow is much more dynamic than in the past. This situation creates the need for areas that function as oases, or ‘treehouses’ if you will–places for focused work or collaboration without building permanent boundaries.”

The treehouses, filled with soft pillows and warm wood, are also a way to make offices a little more comfortable. Though there are other pod-like solutions for open offices on the market now–like these cocoons designed to help you reach a state of flow–Malcew wanted to make something a little friendlier, homier, and more fun. “My intention was to make it more human and poetic, and tell the story through design,” he says.

“Offices are way too often impersonal cold spaces–the treehouse can change it by bringing the familiar archetype form of ‘house’ which is recognized in almost every culture,” he says. “I wanted to create the experience of home within the office space, blurring the line between two seemingly distant worlds.”

The structures don’t create a full barrier, but the thick padding helps absorb sound and improve acoustics in the office–and the houses provide a psychological boundary when
people need to focus.

Malcew is currently making the treehouses to order.

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About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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