Staff trial privacy “pods” for phone and video calls

Single person “pods” are being trialled at Solent NHS Trust to allow staff some privacy in busy open-plan offices.

The Estates Locality Team has arranged for portable booths to be installed at two main sites as it continues to roll out an online desk and room booking system across the organisation.

One pod is on trial at the Trust’s headquarters at Highpoint in Thornhill, Southampton, while a second has been introduced in Block B at St Mary’s Community Health Campus in Portsmouth.

Both are sited in open plan office areas where some staff have said at times it is difficult if they need to make a confidential phone-call or take part in a video meeting.

Steve Scutchings, Site Operations Manager, said: “These pods have been introduced as a direct result of staff feedback about our new agile working arrangements and booking system.

“We hope they will come in useful when someone needs a bit of privacy, for instance for a confidential phone conversation or a piece of work requiring a brief period of intense concentration.

“Some colleagues may also like to use them for a quiet break away from the noise of the office during their busy working days.“

Steve added: “As with other organisations, so many of our staff are embracing new ways of working and we are keen to hear if our teams will find these quiet spaces a useful addition to our office environment.”

The free-standing pods, described by manufacturer Nook as personal alcoves, are fully equipped with a seat, shelf, adjustable lighting and USB/charging points.

Both kiosks are on wheels and can be moved to alternative locations if needed.

Solent NHS Estates and Facilities is continuing to roll out an online desk and room booking system across the organisation.

Launched in October 2021, the innovative Matrix software allows staff to book a desk, clinic or meeting room at the touch of a button.

Already five Solent sites have been put on the system, with nine more coming online in the coming months.

If popular with staff, more pods could be introduced and become an additional bookable space option.

Solent NHS Estates and Facilities will continue to investigate technologies and systems to support teams as they begin to work in different ways.

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