Your guide to testing phone booths

The most important facts in brief

Take your time and test the telephone box thoroughly.
Work in the box yourself for at least 15 minutes.
Always bear in mind exactly what you want to achieve with the telephone box.
The telephone box should effectively ensure peace and quiet in the office. The acoustics are therefore the be-all and end-all and should be thoroughly tested by you.

Step 1 The acoustic test

The telephone box should effectively ensure peace and quiet in the office. The acoustics are therefore the be-all and end-all and should be thoroughly tested by you.

Let's get one thing straight from the start: when it comes to decibel measurements and telephone boxes, paper values are virtually meaningless. This is because everyone tests differently and the results are therefore hardly comparable. It is therefore all the more important that you check the sound insulation of the box for yourself.

To gain a good insight, you should imitate a typical office environment as closely as possible during your test. So it's best to come directly to the showroom with a colleague. This way, one of you can take a seat inside the phone box while the other stands in front of it. This will give you a good impression of how much noise penetrates from the outside to the inside - and vice versa.

During your showroom visit, keep in mind what your individual use case is: Do you need 100 percent confidentiality inside the telephone box? Or do you want to significantly reduce the background noise in the office and create quiet spaces for your employees? If the latter is the case, then you don't need a completely soundproof telephone box.

Are you coming to the showroom alone? Then bring a Bluetooth speaker with you. You can place it in the phone box and get an impression of the sound insulation to the outside. Otherwise, your phone will do just as well.

A good telephone box not only ensures that what is said does not leak out, but is also characterized by excellent acoustics inside. This is the only way to ensure that the spoken word in the telephone box also sounds good at the other end - and that no annoying echo disturbs the conversation. So take the time for a call or a short meeting on site. This way you can get direct feedback on the sound quality.

Stand in the telephone box and snap or clap your hands. This will give you a good feel for the echo inside. Does the sound bounce off the walls? Or do you have the feeling that the sound is traveling through the telephone box? In general, the less the sound is reflected, the better.

The ventilation should also be scrutinized as part of the acoustic test. After all, no one is helped if you are suddenly disturbed by a constantly buzzing ventilation system instead of everyday office noise.

So take a seat in the telephone box and listen to the background noise inside the box: Do you hear an annoying whirring or similar noise that can be attributed to the ventilation? But remember: the motor that drives the ventilation and the movement of the air itself are never completely silent. So pay attention to whether the operation of the ventilation is distracting or particularly noticeable.

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Step 2 The practicability test

The phone box is intended to be an everyday companion in the office. Working in the booth should be a real alternative to working at a desk or in a quiet home office for employees. During the test, you should also ask yourself the question: "Does the phone box meet the needs of my team?"

Phone boxes are particularly popular for virtual meetings and calls. To literally appear in the best light in the phone box, you should see the lighting for yourself. Ideally, you should take the time for a short meeting and get an idea of the lighting conditions in various seating positions. Is the light too bright? Are you barely visible because it's far too dark? Or is there a strange shadow cast on your face?

Sit in the box for about 15 minutes and work in front of you. Does the light stay on? Or do you have to change your sitting position every few minutes to avoid sitting in the dark? You can do without that during a sales talk!

Are you in full flow and have completely lost track of time in the phone box? We know that only too well! That's exactly why you should make sure during the product test that there are sockets or USB ports in the phone box - so that you don't run out of juice in the middle of a meeting.

Many people still like to work with pen and paper. To ensure that employees can make optimum use of all their preferred work tools in the phone box, you should make sure that the table in the phone box offers enough space for this. Can you ideally place the laptop on the table? Is there still enough room for a notebook and a coffee? Or do you constantly feel like you're going to knock your cup off the table the next time you move?

Take a tape measure with you and measure the table. Ideally, it should be at least 30 cm deep. This will give you enough space to position a 13-inch laptop optimally for calls and not feel cramped in the phone box.

Not surprising, but: Make sure on site that all elements are well made and work as planned. Does the door close properly? Or is there a large slit at the bottom through which more than one finger can fit? Also take a close look at the door handles or door latches. Do they make a stable impression? This is particularly important for door handles, as this is a potential source of danger. Door handles can snap off in a fit of panic - in the event of a fire, for example - if they are not properly finished. With door handles, make sure that the door closes firmly. As the typical door handle closing mechanism is missing here, you should check this critically.

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Step 3 The comfort test

Even if only very few people spend the entire working day in a phone box, it should still be comfortable enough for employees to do so without any problems. If they wanted to. 

Ventilation is particularly important for two reasons when it comes to the comfort of the telephone box. Firstly, because of possible background noise and secondly, but above all, because of the air quality inside. To test the latter, you should definitely work in the box for 15 minutes. Is it stuffy inside? Do you feel like you're getting a headache? If this is the case, be sure to ask the manufacturer about the effective performance of the ventilation.

You should also pay attention to a few things when it comes to lighting: Is the light well distributed in the phone box? Can you read your notes well despite the lack of daylight? All of this depends heavily on the position of the light source. Also check whether the light source is reflected unfavorably on your screen. Because this will definitely interfere with your work.

Many providers also equip the telephone boxes with their own furniture, such as a chair or stool. They often match the design of the telephone box particularly well and are made of similar materials to create a uniform look. Test these products on site so that you know whether you should order them with the telephone box.

Also very important: the internet. If the internet in the phone box is not good, employees will not be able to use it for longer focus phases or meetings. So make sure during the on-site test that the connection inside is stable. If this is not the case, you should check whether there is a LAN connection.

The various models on the market also differ greatly in terms of their features. From calendar integration in the box to lights that indicate whether the telephone box is busy to automatic messages about items that need to be serviced, there is a lot on offer here. You can find out for yourself what is useful for you or just a nice gimmick.

"I feel like an animal in a zoo" or "Don't you get claustrophobic in there?": Anyone who talks about phone boxes is bound to have heard these or similar phrases more than once. To convince critics of the opposite, test for yourself how you feel when working in a phone box.

For phone boxes with more than one glass wall, you should ask yourself whether you have enough privacy. As phone booths are often used as a place of retreat, it is particularly important that employees do not feel like they are on display in them. To get a feel for the comfort factor, we recommend that you work in the box for at least 15 minutes. 

Is the telephone box equipped with a chair or stool? Then test how easily you can enter the booth. If you have to wriggle like a snake, this is a sign that the phone box may be too small.

The next move is sure to come. Or at least the next renovation. So make sure you find out how easy it is to move the telephone box from A to B. Can you move it around the office without professional help? Find out from your contact person.

What you can - and should! - is whether you can adjust the telephone box to any unevenness on the floor. Ideally, it should have individually adjustable feet or similar components. This is an absolute must-have, especially for old offices.

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