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Cubicle vs. Office: The Great Divide

If you ask the average employee whether they’d rather have an office or a cubicle, you can guess what the response will be. Offices are highly prized even among the most egalitarian of workers. Walls that go all the way up to the ceiling and a door that actually closes are seen as marks of distinction. Even sharing a “real” office is often viewed as preferable to having a cubicle all to oneself. Having a corner office or one with a view is still the coveted prize many people dream about.

Of course, offices are now few and far between. Many employers do away with private offices almost completely – in which case cubicle size and location become the distinguishing factors between regular workers and managers or supervisors. It’s unlikely that private offices will make a comeback as the primary type of work environment. It’s simply too expensive.

However, the debate over the office vs. the cubicle is still raging. The Glass Door Team has put together a list of pros and cons for each work area style that takes into account the perspective of employees. Some of these observations are pretty obvious, but others are a little more subtle. For example, working in a private office could put you at risk for becoming the go-to person for tales of woe that coworkers don’t feel comfortable sharing around the water cooler. That can have a time wasting or career boosting effect depending on how good your people skills are.

If you are a real people person, you might prefer the cubicle life where you get to know those you work with on a minute-by-minute basis. Another benefit of cube dwelling (if your employer isn’t too strict) is that you can generally decorate the panels to suit your personality. A thumbtack in a fabric panel isn’t viewed as quite as big a deal as a nail hole in drywall. Plus, you’ve got a higher chance of being near a window if these coveted spots aren’t all dedicated to private office spaces.

What do you like about working in a cube vs. an office? What would make it more enjoyable? Let us know in the comments.


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