While 70% of U.S. offices are open concept, research finds many employees still value traditional workstations to maintain privacy, and commercial interior designers are taking note. Over the past decade, the one-size-fits-all open plan layout has undergone a transition into an activity-based working environment, where flexibility and privacy are prioritized.
To accommodate these desires, modern workstations and cubicles are being re-introduced into the workplace. But don’t worry – cubicles have come a long way since their first appearance in the 1960s. Gone are the days of employee isolation and mundane cubicle design; today’s designers can satisfy employee preferences through the selection of varying panel heights, layouts, fabric colors, and more.
So how do you select an optimal workstation for your office? We recommend to start by considering the following factors:
Consider Privacy vs. Community
The office cubicle, when utilized effectively, minimizes distraction, yet encourages an interactive working environment. Selecting an optimal cubicle height will accommodate a wide variety of work styles.
Cubicles range in height from 42” to 80” tall – aim for a panel height that offers privacy while seated but encourages inter-office communication when standing. Low panels allow employees to see and talk to each other, whereas high panels allow for quiet, focused work without outside distractions.
Consider Employee Workflow
How does the layout impact your office productivity? Which staff should be clustered together? Who should be located closer to the copier or the supply room? With thoughtful space planning, you can foster collaboration between team members.
Tip: Removing panels between workstations allows for more efficient communication and movement within the workplace, which is ideal for collaborative teams.
Consider Culture and Aesthetics
What’s the image and environment you want to cultivate? Selecting the right finishes and colors can uplift and align the branding of your company. Panels are available in a wide array of fabrics, woods, and laminates.
Beyond initial aesthetics, if your company is more reserved, you’ll want to set some boundaries for cubicle decorating in areas that are in the public eye. If not, allow employees to embrace their space by decorating and personalizing their cubicles.
Consider Rethinking Space Utilization
Traditional office cubicles have a bad reputation – bulky paneling, dim lighting, poor acoustics, and the isolation of employees. For highly collaborative teams, optimizing your space may involve downsizing individual workstations to create additional common areas.
Space utilization allows more employees to fit in the same size space, which removes the hassle of lengthy architectural renovations or pricey relocations.
Consider Ergonomics and Wellness
In today’s competitive market, it’s important to offer employees a multitude of ergonomic options. A recent study found that employees in a call center who used standing desks were 46 percent more productive than colleagues who used standard desks.
Beyond productivity, ergonomic solutions place value on your employees’ health. Height-adjustable desks, task lighting, and adjustable monitor arms show you value employee wellness and longevity – a quality that won’t be overlooked!
Consider “Hotel Desking” for Flexible Workers
Desk booking is all about flexibility and collaboration. Like “hotel desking,” the ideal desk booking system makes communication and interaction between team members a breeze. Instead of subjecting employees to a single cubicle, workers can switch between individual workstations, open tables, desks, or even couches.
Access to flexible workspaces increases efficiency and productivity by creating a shared network among teams. It’s an approach that keeps everyone plugged in, even when they’re away from a physical desk.
Bonus Tip: Talk to an Expert
To learn about all your options, consult with a workplace expert (like us!). Our professional space planning team can help you develop an optimal office layout that meets all your requirements.
Want to see our cubicle work in action? Our case studies provide an excellent insight into our space planning techniques and applications.