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Rethinking Cubicles for Today’s Offices

Cubicles or offices with doors? This debate has been going on since cubicles were introduced in the 1960s. Cubicles were originally designed to be moveable and flexible, with everyone sharing windows and sunlight. But what happened was that they became standardized and bolted into place. “Cube Farm” became a negative term. Then came the “open office” trend, which proved great for collaborative, high-tech companies. However, the open office is being called into question, with workers concerned about the lack of privacy, distracting noise levels, and reduced productivity.

Many workers who relocated to open offices report that they can’t concentrate, that talking with customers is difficult, and that they have no sense of “ownership” of their own workspace (no place for family pictures or personalization of their spaces). It is also said that co-workers are more likely to drift by and start talking or that large groups can get noisy, and there is a distracting sense of constant confusion. Amazingly, there’s a lot of wistful longing for the semi-privacy of a cubicle.

Now, office designers are taking another look at the cubicle, this one more favorable. For one thing, not all cubicles are the same as they were 20 years ago. You can choose from cubicles with tall walls, glass windows, better soundproofing, and even doors. They’re still easily reconfigurable, perfect for a growing company. Businesses that rely on customer interaction, especially involving confidential information, are probably better served by cubicles. So are companies whose workers need to concentrate.

Contact us if you’re planning an office design or re-design, and let us show you the possibilities.


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