The startup that made office phone booths for Google, Uber, and NASA is selling modular work pods — see inside

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Offices will probably never look the same in a post-Coronavirus world. Open floor plans, shared snacks, and even places for napping or hanging out were once markers of trendy places to work, but now these perks seem dangerous in the context of a pandemic, as some offices reopen.

New York-based startup Room made a name for itself selling private phone booths to open offices, with clients including Uber, Google, and Salesforce. At the end of August, the company announced a new line of products that can help transform open offices into something more suitable for social distancing in 2020.

The modular pods are like pop-up meeting rooms with extra ventilation, and Room is also offering a new analysis tool to give clients data on how office space is used, and how employees can safely return.

Room’s proposal is just one idea popping up about how to work during a pandemic. Architect and designer Mohamed Radwan created a system of airtight office pods with air purifiers, and many other designers have created tiny backyard offices, or even ways to transform the home into an office, tastefully.


The meeting room is one of Room’s offerings.

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The prefab rooms go inside an office, and can help divide up an open office. They can also easily be moved to a different location in the office.

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Room notes that in its research, over 70% of meetings are between two to four people, so these modular meeting rooms could largely replace large meeting rooms.

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The standard meeting room starts at $US15,995 and seats up to four people.

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The Pro meeting room is $US17,995, and has all the features of the standard model plus extras.

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Both models are soundproof, with ultra quiet ventilation, a motion sensor for energy efficiency, and storage for cables and accessories.

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The standard meeting room has a whiteboard, while the pro model upgrades to a built-in monitor and camera for easy videoconferencing, which is more important than ever now with so many people working remotely.

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Room says that air inside the rooms is replenished every 60 seconds, which is five times more often than in a traditional conference room.

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Because the rooms are modular and easy to move, they can be arranged in different configurations depending on needs at the moment.

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Room also offers the open meeting room starting at $US13,995, with most of the same features as the meeting room but added openness and airflow to the rest of the office.

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Both meeting rooms come in a light or dark finish, with an optional $US495 annual maintenance subscription.

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These meeting pods begin shipping out in November. Room will ship them flat, and they are then installed professionally.

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The company is also offering the focus room, a private personal office.

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Room also announced a new product, Room Sense, that gives clients data and analysis on space density and utilization to plan a safe return to the office.

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