Your guide to testing phone booths

The most important in a nutshell

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

Step 1 The acoustic test

The telephone box should effectively provide silence in the office. The acoustics are therefore the absolute be-all and end-all and should be tested extensively by you.

We'll say one thing right away: When it comes to decibel measurements and telephone boxes, paper values have almost no significance. Because everyone tests differently and the results are therefore hardly comparable. It is therefore all the more important that you convince yourself of the sound insulation of the box.

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

During your visit to the showroom, 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 a place of retreat 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 on site for a call or a short meeting. This way you can get direct feedback on the sound quality.

Stand in the telephone box once and flick or clap. This will give you a good feel for the reverberation inside. Is the sound reflected back from the walls? Or do you have the feeling that the sounds are virtually traveling through the telephone box? In general, the less the sounds are reflected, the better.

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

So take a seat in the phone box and pay attention to the background noise inside the box: Do you hear an annoying whirring or something similar that can be attributed to the ventilation? But keep in mind: 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 distracts you or is particularly noticeable.

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Step 2 The practicability test

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

Phone boxes are especially popular for virtual meetings and calls. In order to literally appear in the best light in the telephone box, you should convince yourself of the lighting. Ideally, you should take the time for a short meeting to 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 away. 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 something like that during a sales talk!

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

Many people still like to work with pen and paper. To ensure that employees can make optimal use of all their preferred work tools in the telephone box, you should make sure that the table in the telephone box offers enough space for this. Can you place the laptop ideally on the table? Is there still enough room for a notebook and a coffee? Or do you constantly have the feeling that you'll 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 gives you enough room to align a 13-inch laptop optimally for calls and not feel cramped in the phone box.

Not surprisingly, though: Make sure on site that all elements are well made and work as planned. Does the door close properly? Or is there a large slot at the bottom through which more than one finger can fit? Also take a close look at the door handles or door knobs. Do they make a stable impression? This is particularly important for door handles, because this is a potential source of danger. Door handles can break off in a fit of panic - for example, in the event of a fire - if they are not properly manufactured. When looking at door handles, make sure that the door closes tightly. Since the typical handle closing mechanism is missing here, you should check this critically.

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Step 3 The comfort test

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

The ventilation is particularly important for two reasons when it comes to the comfort of the phone box. On the one hand, because of possible background noise, and on the other hand, especially 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 have the feeling of getting a headache? If this is the case, you should definitely 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 is highly dependent on the position of the light source. Also check whether the light source is reflected unfavorably on your screen. Because that definitely disturbs your work.

Many suppliers also equip the phone boxes with their own furniture, for example, a chair or stool. They often fit particularly well with the design of the phone booth and are made of similar materials to create a uniform image. Also test these products on the spot, so you know whether you should order them with the phone box.

Also very important: the Internet. If the Internet in the phone box is not good, employees cannot use it for longer focus phases or meetings. So during the on-site test, make sure 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 features. From calendar integrations of the box over lamps, which indicate whether the telephone box is busy, up to automatic messages over elements to be waited is offered to you here a lot. You can find out for yourself what is useful for you or just a nice gimmick.

"It makes me feel like an animal in the zoo" or "Don't you get claustrophobic in there?": Anyone who talks about telephone boxes has certainly 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 booths with more than one glass wall, you should ask yourself whether you have enough privacy. Since phone booths are often used as a place of retreat, it is especially important that employees don't 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 phone booth equipped with a chair or stool? Then test how well you can enter the booth. If you have to squirm like a snake, it's a sign that the phone box may be too small.

The next move is bound to come. Or at least the next renovation. So be sure to 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 - check yourself on site is whether you can move the telephone box. - is whether you can adjust the telephone box to possible unevenness on the floor. Ideally, it should have individually adjustable feet or similar components. This is an absolute must-have, especially for offices in old buildings.

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