There’s often a disconnect between space planners and actual users, and this is even more apparent when it comes to cubicles. While cubicle sharing seems like a no-brainer to planners and facility managers in cases with limited workstations, the workers who have to physically exist in the shared space can sometimes find it difficult. How can shared cubicle space be made more user friendly and employee conflicts be reduced?
Design for the Demographic
Depending on the type of office environment and the workers employed, there maybe a need for easy access to each other or for more isolation to avoid distraction. Some workers may prefer to sit facing each other while others will prefer a side by side setup or even a cubicle sharing lay-out that puts their backs to each other. Don’t seat employees who are expected to focus intently for periods of time with employees who will be up and down out of their seat every five minutes. Also take in to account personalities and don’t pair a chatty person with an employee who doesn’t believe in socializing at work.
Consider BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
The option of “hoteling” appeals to many office managers and employees; with ever increasing numbers of workers using their own equipment (laptops, phones, etc) ate work, a written in stone workstation designation isn’t really necessary. An office layout with multiple workstations can be left up for grabs – when an employee comes in, they can choose where to sit, access the available internet / VoIP connections, and get to work. This is also a great option for companies who have agents that may work on and off the road or telecommute part of the time – instead of reserving a desk for them that sits unused most of the time, the worker can simply grab a workstation as needed.
Don’t Forget Everything Else
Make sure you have centrally located stations for cubicle sharers to do extra tasks or to get away for a break. Coffee stations, break rooms, printer tables and whiteboards should be readily available. A corner with a few extra cubicles holding a phone and desktop can let employees have privacy on breaks to make phone calls or deal with other personal issues.
Cubicle sharing can and does work – but it takes forethought and deliberation on the part of the office managers to ensure that the concept runs smoothly upon execution.