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Meeting Rooms vs. Office Pods Explained

What are office pods, and how do they differ from meeting rooms? Read on for a more in-depth explanation between the two.

A workplace environment thrives on collaboration. Working with team members to brainstorm new ideas, troubleshoot problems, and navigate daily responsibilities can help facilitate open and direct communication to improve productivity and outcomes. 

As such, it’s essential that companies foster a collaborative office space by dedicating areas such as meeting rooms and office pods. This allows for an office setup where employees can join together, focus, and get the job done. 

In this guide, we’re deep diving into how meeting rooms and office pods can improve workplace productivity by exploring their distinct advantages and installment costs. 

What Is the Difference Between Meeting Rooms and Office Pods?

Let’s start with the traditional office meeting room. Whether it’s at a hotel or in your office building, you know a meeting space  when you see it. The definition is in the name. A meeting room is a specialized area that’s separated from the rest of the office and used for private meetings and interviews.

You can probably easily envision the long table encircled with chairs in a classic conference room, but meeting rooms can vary in size depending on their common purposes and the company itself.1

Now, let’s check out the newcomer— office pods. These self-contained units are a modern middle-ground between cubicles and open offices. Open-plan offices became popular in 2005 when Google revamped its headquarters. By 2014, one study found that 70% of companies utilized this layout.2

As a result, work pods for open office layouts can be easily implemented into small or large spaces. They allow companies to add semi-private meeting pods without excessive construction costs.3 For more information on how much this addition may cost for your company, make sure to read up on the office pod cost depending on size and design.

So, let’s summarize. Meeting rooms are traditional rooms within an office that are set apart for meetings and interviews. Office pods are external units that you can add to open-plan office designs to achieve the same results without major renovations.


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Pros and Cons of Meeting Rooms vs. Office Pods

Unsurprisingly, meeting rooms and office pods each come with their own advantages and drawbacks. Let’s look closer at each so you can decide which is best for your organization.

Pros of Meeting Rooms

Up first, our classic contender—the business meeting room.  Some of the meeting room’s benefits include:

  • Privacy – Meeting rooms offer unparalleled privacy in the age of open-office plans. You can close the door and draw the blinds to ensure that sensitive discussions remain private.

  • Comfort – Although they come in many different sizes, meeting rooms tend to be large, which often means that they’re comfortable and accommodating, especially during your weekly all-hands meeting.

  • Multi-use – Because of their usual size, meeting rooms are versatile. You can use them for meetings, interviews, presentations, training, and even in-office parties.

  • That said, in contrast to the mobility of office pods, meeting rooms are fixed design elements that can’t easily be moved or altered. This could be a greater disadvantage for quickly growing companies that need to adapt as they gain new employees.

    Pros of Office Pods

    Office pods, of course, come with their own set of advantages, too. Let’s explore the top three benefits of office pods:

    • Cost – Compared to the cost of major renovations, office pods represent significant savings if you need to add private meeting or working spaces to your modern workplace.
    • Mobility – Because they are external units, office pods can be more easily moved around within the office (or even to a different location) if you’re undergoing a redesign.
    • Focus – Soundproof office pods provide semi-private spaces that reduce distraction and improve productivity.

    Cost to Install Meeting Rooms vs. Office Pods

    Cost is one of the most important considerations for any choice related to your company. To help guide you in your decision, let’s break down the costs associated with each option.

    Meeting Room Costs

    It can be difficult to calculate the cost of installing a meeting room. If a conference room doesn’t already exist, the construction and renovation costs will be significant. Even if the space does exist, the cost of the necessary equipment can still be staggering.

    In fact, rather than solely calculating construction, furniture, or technology costs, let’s consider some of the hidden costs associated with meeting and conference rooms. One estimate found that the annual cost of an average meeting room is $15,708, based on the prices associated with leases and utilities.4

    Another consideration? A report found that in meeting rooms that seat more than 12 people, 55% of that space is wasted.5 So, when you’re calculating the cost of installing or upgrading a meeting room in your office, it’s beneficial to think about more than just the upfront fees.

    Office Pods Costs

    As with meeting rooms, the costs to install office pods depend on the specifications, but let’s look at four standard options:

  • Focus Pod – A simple single-person focus pod costs between $9,000 and $19,000, depending on where and when you purchase it.

  • 2-Person Meeting Pod – A basic two-person meeting pod also costs between $9,000 and $19,000, depending on where and when you purchase it.

  • 4-Person Meeting Pod – A slightly larger four-person meeting pod costs between $11,000 and $25,000, depending on where and when you purchase it.

  • 4-Person Open Pod – An open four-person meeting pod costs between $11,000 and $25,000, depending on where and when you purchase it.

  • Other costs to budget for when adding an office pod to your workplace include:

    • Shipping
    • Taxes
    • Installment

    Look for companies with free shipping and simple setups to help you save money.

    How Office Design Impacts Productivity

    As you decide between office meeting rooms, office pods, and other office design features, it’s helpful to understand how the elements of office design can improve office productivity

    Believe it or not, an open-plan office design is not synonymous with collaboration and productivity. In fact, Harvard found a 70% decrease in face-to-face interactions when companies transition to open offices.6

    Instead of a one-size-fits-all mentality, Harvard determined companies received the most return on the investment in their office design through the process of trial and error. 

    Specifically, they recommend running experiments on different design layouts and then collecting and analyzing data like the percent of face-to-face interactions to decide which setup is ideal for your employees.6

    As you explore potential layouts, consider factors including:7

  • Lighting – Bad office design and fluorescent lights are practically synonymous. That’s understandable because Cornell found workers in offices with natural light were 84% less likely to experience health problems like headaches and eye strain. Adding more windows, doors, and skylights, as well as organizing desks closer to sources of natural light, is a beneficial design choice.

  • Noise Level – Another study found workers lose 86 minutes of productivity each day due to noise. Those distractions can include co-workers and ambient sounds. Design elements such as soundproof office pods allow employees to focus and improve their efficiency.

  • Furniture – When it comes to office furniture, ergonomics is the name of the game. Furniture, like executive conference room chairs, is specially designed for long workdays to ensure that your employees remain concentrated and comfortable.

  • Whether it’s headaches from bad lighting or back pain from a bad desk setup, you’ll notice that many of these design features relate to employees’ comfort and health. There is an accelerating trend for healthier workplaces with perks like standing desks and wellness rooms. 

    In fact, Forbes reported that 87% of workers want these benefits, which you’ll want to remember as you consider your office redesign.8 

    Which Setup Is Beneficial for My Workplace?

    So which setup is the best for your workplace? To answer that question, it’s essential to consider the needs of your employees and the kind of work you do. Are large meetings frequent in your office? Is collaboration integral to the work you do?

    To find the answer, you can run experiments as Harvard recommended, or you can embrace the doctrine of workplace choice. This means that you allow your employees to choose the conditions that foster their productivity by offering multiple environments. 

    Create specific spaces for focus, collaboration, and relaxation so that your office design always fits your employees' needs.9

    Juniper: Optimize Your Office

    In recent years, we’ve had to rethink what makes a modern office. Now more than ever, we can appreciate these spaces of collaboration and creativity. That said, an impactful office needs to be intentionally designed. Ultimately, the decision between meeting rooms and office pods will depend on your company’s unique preferences and needs.

    Whichever you choose, Juniper can meet those design needs. Our diverse collection of office furniture, office pods, and even a brand-new office phone booth can help offer you the power of choice. 

    Build the office of tomorrow with Juniper today.


    1. Conferences Group. What is the definition of a Meeting room. 
    2. Mute. The Open Office Concept: What Went Wrong and Can It be Fixed? 
    3. Juniper Office. Office Meeting Pods. 
    4. iOffice. How to Calculate the Cost of One Empty Conference Room. 
    5. Inc. Is Your Conference Room a Hidden Cost? 
    6. Harvard Business Review. The Truth About Open Offices. 
    7. Jumpstart. Sparking Productivity through Office Design—Where Do We Start? 
    8. Forbes. How Your Office Space Impacts Employee Well-Being. 
    9. Fast Company. Five detailed ways to design an office for neurodiversity.