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Personal Focus Rooms for the Hybrid Workplace

by Ted Prestogeorge / February 22, 2024

The hybrid office is designed to promote mobility, increase collaboration,  and enhance space efficiency among a largely remote workforce. Hybrid offices require various space options for individual workstations, collaborative meeting spaces, and conference rooms. They also require multiple spaces that can provide privacy and quiet for focused work.

In the modern hybrid workplace, where employees split their time between the traditional office and working remotely, not everyone who wants a private office has a designated space.

Open workspaces in the hybrid office, such as touchdown stations, cubicles, and other open desk areas, are great for collaboration and impromptu team communication but can be noisy, busy, and often difficult places to focus. 

Personal Spaces in the Hybrid Office

There are different types of personal focus rooms for different needs. Some people in an open office require a space to make phone calls and do short-term focused work. While touchdown stations could be used in some offices to make or receive an occasional call, it might be more courteous to coworkers to have that call in a place away from others.

In these cases, a phone booth space is ideal. A phone booth is just what it sounds like – a space to make a call away from the noise of the office and without contributing further to that noise.

Focus Phone booth spaceUsing a personal phone booth for call

At other times, a worker might require a larger area to spend more time doing the heads-down work required to focus on a task or even enter the “flow state,” an intense focus that promotes productivity. Such spaces have been called getaway rooms or getaway booths, but I refer to them as personal focus rooms.

These are small enclosed offices where focused work can be performed. They typically take up about the same floor space as an 8’ x 8’ office cubicle but have full walls, a ceiling, and a closable door. Some companies manufacture these booths as pre-fabricated pods that can be moved around during an office reconfiguration, providing office layout flexibility.  They can also be made of demountable walls that balance permanence and flexibility or are traditionally built with solid walls.

Focused OfficePersonal focus office with demountable walls

Considerations for a Personal Focus Room

The following are several factors to consider when planning a hybrid office layout with personal focus rooms.


The ratio of personal focus rooms to staff members depends on the office's mobility level and the number of employees who may require a quiet space for heads-down work.

The ratio varies greatly, but I typically begin my space planning efforts with one getaway booth for every four employees and then adjust as needed.


Locate personal focus rooms away from high-traffic areas of the office. This ensures minimal interruptions and the privacy needed for focused work. However, this should be balanced with a location accessible to all employees. Don’t put the rooms in an out-of-the-way partitioned portion of the office.

In a hybrid office with different zones or “neighborhoods,” like separate neighborhoods for collaboration vs. quiet work, try to divide the number of personal focus rooms among these neighborhoods.


Whether the space is a modular pod, demountable walls, or traditionally built construction, make sure the room has good sound insulation to minimize external office noise.

It’s also important that these spaces are designed to provide good internal acoustics so that phone calls or conversations with colleagues can be conducted without sounding like they’re inside a cave.


A best practice is to design focus rooms to accommodate individual-focused work and two-person meetings. Flexible furnishings and technology should be provided to get the most use out of the space.


Integrate technology into the design of the room and furnishings. Provide an adequate number of power outlets and include charging ports. Ensure that office wi-fi connectivity is strong in the room, and there is a strong cellular signal. If the office has a telecom system, don’t forget to include the jacks and phone hardware.

Consider equipping the room with a large wall-mounted video monitor or separate desk monitor to supplement an employee’s laptop and provide easy connectivity to the additional monitors.

If the room is flexible and used for small meetings, the large wall monitor would be useful for displaying information for all in the room. Including the necessary equipment in the room for virtual collaboration may also be a benefit beyond what is normally provided by a laptop.

Booking System 

A reservation system is another technology to help get maximum and fair use from a personal focus room.

This system can vary from a shared electronic sign-up sheet to a dedicated computer app that integrates with electronic reservation placards on the wall outside of each room.

A set of rules for fair usage and a reservation system can help ensure that a personal focus room is available for anyone requiring one. An example of a rule would be that no single person can reserve a focus room for more than three consecutive days or “x” number of times per week.

Ergonomics, Comfort and Inspiration 

Provide ergonomic seating and work surfaces that are functional. Include storage bins or a space for portable files.

Be sure that the HVAC in the room is adequate and that any artificial lighting, whether overall or task lighting, is bright but adjustable. Consider having views of exterior windows and access to natural light.

Include pleasant décor in or around the personal focus room, such as greenery, to provide a sense of biophilia or artwork.

Focus is Achievable

An effective hybrid office requires space for employee collaboration and focused work. Hybrid offices rarely include sufficient spaces for focused work. The emphasis is on collaboration spaces, assuming that focused work will happen when employees work from home. It is possible to design a hybrid office to include focused work. I hope that when attention is given to personal focus rooms, there will be a better balance between focused and collaborative work, and productivity will flourish.


Click on the image below for our guide on how different work styles thrive in different space layouts.

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Tags: Hybrid Office

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Ted Prestogeorge

Ted Prestogeorge

Ted Prestogeorge is a senior architect with Fentress Incorporated, where he has worked since 2006. His primary interests include the history of architecture, Art Deco design, and watercolor painting.