Should you buy cubicle dividers for your office?
Over the past few decades, cubicles have gone from a cutting-edge workspace design to a passé one. But are cubicles really as bad as pop culture makes them out to be? Can you successfully use cubicles in your office without turning your staff into characters from a Dilbert cartoon?
You certainly shouldn’t embrace the open office plan just because everyone else is doing it. Here are some pros and cons of cubicles to consider before making a decision about your office workspace layout.
The original success of the cubicle was due to the fact that it provided a cost-effective means for each employee to have a private workspace, without creating separate offices. Privacy continues to be a key advantage of the cubicle system. Other advantages include:
- Quieter workspace
- Wall space for employees to post diagrams, notes, etc.
- Ability to have shelves in the cube for holding manuals and supplies
- Fewer distractions from coworkers
- Improved productivity in terms of ability to concentrate
The new open workspace trend has dealt a big blow to the popularity of cubicles. Many people now claim that cubicles are somehow demeaning, dehumanizing, or soulless. Of course, it is the office culture that promotes these feelings, not the cubes themselves! Nevertheless, cubicles do have some very real drawbacks:
- Difficulty accessing team members
- Reduced communication & collaboration between employees
- Reduced productivity in terms of ability to surf the web or chat on the phone unnoticed
- Require more square footage than desks alone
A Con for Another Business Could be Pro for Yours
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use cubicles in your workspace depends heavily on the nature of your business and the types of tasks your employees are doing. For example, a call center would not do well in an open environment because it would quickly become too noisy. On the other hand, workers in a more collaborative business, such as web development or advertising, would benefit greatly from tearing down cubicle walls to facilitate constant communication about projects. Consider these factors about your business:
- Do employees work solo or collaboratively?
- Does your staff get along or do they need breaks from one another?
- Which is more important, focus or creativity?
Overcoming the Shortfalls of Cubicles
The good news is that you can get the best of both worlds with a bit of careful planning. First of all, consider getting half-height cubicles instead of full-height ones. This will improve your employees’ ability to talk with one another during work, even if they can’t see one another while sitting at their desks. However, privacy and quiet will still be reasonably good. You should also consider grouping employees with similar responsibilities together in cubicle clusters and creating dedicated spaces for employees to work closely together when necessary, such as lounges or conference rooms.
Interested in getting new cubicles or additional cubicles for your business? Contact PnP Office Furniture for some of the best prices on new and used cubicles.