When the Crowd is Too Much
Yes, people are herd animals, but at times we must escape from the scrum. It is noisy, stressful and exhausting to stay in that crowd too long. We need to fly on that plane, ride that train or get in that concert hall, but we are not cattle so we need privacy sooner or later, and it is not always available.
Decades ago, hotel owners in Osaka noticed that office workers often stayed out too late and missed their train home. They needed a place to sleep, but didn’t want or need a hotel room; the Capsule Hotel was born! This offered an escape from the crowd, with just enough isolation to support the rest needed to be ready for work the next day.
This compact isolation space for sleep offered enough privacy, quiet and comfort close to the city center, while the cost was reasonable. It was a hit in Osaka, then Tokyo and other cities. Today Capsule Hotels can be found in many airports outside Japan. Years ago I stayed in a spa resort Capsule Hotel in Kobe, Japan, and it was a great experience that provided a very restful night’s sleep.
When to Seek Isolation
Too much privacy is bad for people, which is why many consider solitary confinement a form of torture. But isolation from aggressive crowds, unhealthy populations or dangerous materials can be a life-saver.
Our stress levels, immune systems and sanity demand privacy at regular intervals, but isolation can be important for business as well. If you are in food service, agriculture, pharma, health care and many other lines of work, isolation is a critical part of your job.
When the consistency, quality or viability of our work demands that our process have some “privacy” it is time to find it some appropriate isolation. That could be a refrigerator, an incubator, a well secured room or a designated workstation. In some cases a barrier isolation glove box may be needed to provide a work-space away from “the crowd” of microbes and dust that populate the air we breathe.
Just as bedspreads and curtains in a hotel can share microbes with hundreds of guests, the floors and furniture in any room can provide “crowds” that are unhelpful. Some hoods and clean rooms deliver enough isolation to support clean, sterile work, but when really sensitive work requires more, an isolation glove box may be the best solution.
Just Enough Isolation
When people, drug preparation or scientific experiments require “escape from the crowd” it is important to have the right amount of isolation. Part of that right-sizing is the selection of an isolated space that is big enough to work, but small enough to be manageable. A hotel capsule is adequate for a sleepy person without luggage, and it is easy to fully clean and sanitize. A normal hotel room can support sleep as well as other activities, but even after it is fully cleaned, it retains microbes and dust from several past guests.
Like a hotel room, a large work room or fume hood can retain contaminants, even after thorough cleaning. If the process will fit in it, a compact glove box may provide a practical work space that can be fully cleaned and disinfected for true sterile use. This is generally a much better choice than a ‘go big’ approach, which often leads to operational and quality problems.
I hope you will share this post with others that may find it helpful, and please share your ideas and questions with us in the comment section below.
Photo credit: Dick Thomas Johnson via VisualHunt.com / CC BY
By kallerna – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55441547