Employees need some degree of privacy in order to get their work done. They don’t need complete seclusion or that much space, but giving them a little bit of elbow room and a few walls helps them get more done. Not only does it help minimize the distraction of neighbors getting on each other’s nerves with small habits, but it also lets them relax. Here are three easy ways to do it:

Make small cubicles feel bigger with low walls.

Sometimes office space has to be tight. When your company is small or rental prices are creeping far too high, your company can’t spend too much money on real estate. But encapsulating employees in high-walled cubicles that are too small can frazzle everyone’s nerves.

If you have to switch to slightly smaller cubicles so that everyone can fit, find cubicles with low, frosted walls instead. This gives the same feeling of privacy and individual space without making anyone feel like the walls are closing in.

Give everyone shelves and file cabinets.

Everyone needs storage space to call their own. They need a shelf to hold personal knick-knacks that make them feel calmer and more engaged in their work. They also need a secure cabinet for sensitive paper files, personal belongings, and their valuables.

If people can ‘unpack’ a bit when they get to work, they can settle in for the day without worrying about their wallet or their purse. Even better, they feel more comfortable temporarily leaving their desk to track down someone in another room who isn’t answering their email.

Add security screens to laptops.

Most office workers use laptops instead of desktops. This means they can work anywhere if they have the space, including meetings. But this flexibility and convenience can come at the cost of security.

If someone in HR is sitting next to a sales group at a company meeting, they can’t keep working on sensitive documents. If your company’s contract administrator is going to a branch in another state, they might not want to risk working on files when anyone can glance at their screen. Give them privacy screens so no one can sneak an unauthorized peek at their work.

Go to Tangram Studios for more tips about every element of office design.