Designed in the 1960s, cubicles rose in popularity during the 1970s and 80s, creating private workspaces for employees instead of wide open spaces. Unfortunately, with the cubicle design came the rise of the “cubicle farm” (an effort on the part of employers to stuff as many employees as they could into a small space). This proved to depersonalize the office and create a space where people felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable.
Open concept offices saw a rise in the 1990s and 2000s, but the shift went to the other extreme and led to complaints about a lack of sound privacy and the need for a variety of spaces in which to be productive. Moving into 2020, there is a definite trend towards building mindful spaces that keeps the needs of all employees, as well as the needs of the company, in mind.
With this mindful design, cubicles have again seen a rise in popularity. But this time, rather than stuffing an office full of maze-like cubicle pods and walkways, offices are taking the time to create a space that is both beautiful and functional, optimized for both productivity and employee wellbeing. As many people head back to work after working-from-home during the pandemic, cubicles can also provide peace of mind, creating the necessary distance and barriers to keep staff and clients safe.
5 Types of Cubicle Options
1. High wall cubicles
A high wall glass partition system can be designed to create cubicles that provide sound protection from floor to ceiling. Many buildings have been designed with the industrial look of open spaces and high ceilings, but it doesn’t mean that privacy isn’t needed. Using a high wall cubicle system allows for individual office spaces to be created in a building with unique design needs.
2. Cubicles with doors
Many cubicles are designed to be open providing for quick and easy flow in and out of the space, but the lack of a door can lead to private conversations being overheard as well as a noisy environment that proves distracting. Adding a door to a cubicle not only adds privacy, but it also provides a more intimate space in which to complete daily tasks, giving employees a greater sense of ownership over their workspace.
3. Room dividers
In a dynamic space where the office configuration may not need to stay the same each day or if there is a trend of shifting personnel, room dividers can easily create cubicles and then be removed just as easily. Room dividers come in a variety of styles, but their main feature is the flexibility to simply shift them from one space to another, allowing for a quick office or collaboration space or a way to block off a copy machine or coffee station.
Room divider systems can also be elevated with freestanding glass partitions that can be installed anywhere that a cubicle is needed. They provide sound privacy while also allowing a view into the larger office.
4. Panel systems
Panel cubicle systems can be installed nearly anywhere and come in a variety of styles. They can be entirely fabric or include windows to provide more light and an aesthetic touch to the office. These panel systems are incredibly flexible and can be moved when the needs of the office change.
5. Benching cubicles
Benching cubicles are essentially table style desks grouped together and separated by a low glass (or other material) partition. This style makes collaboration easier than full or partial wall cubicles but still allows for privacy and a separation of workspaces.
Considerations When Buying Cubicles
Office space and configuration
When buying cubicles there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. The most important is the office space itself and available configuration of cubicles. Within an office, there will be many different ways to configure the space, and accounting for the needs of the office will likely dictate the best type of cubicle to choose.
Take accurate measurements
Once the office space and configuration needs are accounted for, taking accurate measurements of the space will make buying and installing cubicles easy and efficient. Accounting for the amount of space the cubicle will take up, including the height, will allow you to make the best use of the available space.
Determine how many you’ll need
Taking count of how many employees will need individual office space, how many small group areas, and how many conference areas the office requires will determine how many cubicles you will need. The more accurate the count, the fewer adjustments you’ll have to make later on.
You should also take into account the timeframe for delivery and installation. Some cubicle systems such as panels and room dividers simply require placement, but they are much more temporary than a glass partition system. Glass partition and benching cubicles will need more time to install, but they also create a more established feel in the office.
Accounting for growth and shifts in staffing
Choosing a system that will account for growth and shifts in staffing is an essential consideration. As the economy is re-opening in the midst of the Coronavirus, there are shifts in staffing that see offices utilizing creative scheduling options and creating distance between staff in order to keep the employees safe. Cubicles allow for flexibility and growth depending on the company’s current and future needs.
Buying new vs. used
While it is tempting to shop around for used cubicles, you should consider buying them new. According to Cubicle by Design, “you spend less when you buy used cubicles, but over time you’d likely gain much more value from buying new cubicles.” Buying new cubicles ensures that they will be the perfect fit for your office. By customizing colors, textures, and graphics, you can make sure that they are an outward representation of the commitment your company has to its work and its clients.
When determining the configurations of the cubicles, be sure to take power source availability into consideration. Ensuring that each cubicle has its own power source can be overlooked, but it’s essential that each cubicle is outfitted with the appropriate number of outlets to ensure safety and productivity.
Buying cubicles can be a fairly simple and straightforward process when you’ve taken all of these elements into consideration and chosen the style that is best for the needs of your office. If you have questions about the right cubicles for your space, Avanti Systems can help you make the right choice for your office.