Anyone who specializes in buying office furniture can tell you that there’s a big difference between an affordable cubicle and a cheap cubicle. Buying cheap can end up costing a company in a lot of different ways. The furniture will tend to succumb to wear and tear quickly. Poorly made furniture will also look and feel shabby – something that employees can definitely pick up on. Whether you are buying new or used cubicles for your office, here are some signs that a workstation is really cheap:
Particle Board – Nothing screams “cheap call center workstation” like a particle board cube covered with laminate. If you see the laminate separating from the composite underneath due to poor adhesion, don’t buy it. Also, be aware that any water or coffee spilled may seep through the seams in the laminate causing the particle board underneath it to swell.
Not Tech Ready – A high quality, modern cubicle will have one or more raceways to accommodate cabling and wiring. Buying a model that does not offer this feature means you will have to deal with unprotected cords everywhere. This is an unsightly tripping hazard. Of course, if you have gone wireless in your offices this won’t be a problem. Still, most of the better brands offer raceways as a matter of course.
Poor Acoustics – One of the top complaints employees have about cheap cubicles is the fact that they are too noisy. A well constructed panel system will offer noise reduction via various layers of material in its core. Check the noise reduction coefficient and sound transmission class ratings to see if they meet reasonable comfort standards before you buy.
Poorly made panel systems may also:
- Be lightweight and unstable, tending to shift around rather than staying in place
- Have components such as brackets and hinges missing or have plastic parts that are broken
- Lack powder coating on the metal frame – this means the paint will flake off over time
- Not have any off-module capacity, limiting the flexibility of the workspace layout
- Feature cheap fabrics that show wear and staining if used in moderate traffic areas