Not every business operates best in an open office environment. Some industry regulations require a certain level of privacy, and some offices simply need the separation for their employees to perform at optimum levels. Today, we're seeing a rising trend of dynamic office spaces: moveable walls, tables and couches on wheels, changeable surfaces, integrated tech that welcomes multiple devices. The advantage to a dynamic space is that it can keep things fresh. The downside? Your employees begin to long for some sense of stability and a place to call their own. Enter: the cubicle. At last year's NeoCon, we saw a return to private work spaces and "individual work zones," which made us ask: can cubicles be cool again?
Cubicles aren't required to be stuffy or boxy to be effective. Cubicle design can be both fun and functional, and fit in your design without sacrificing comfort in a modern office.
Whether the cube walls are high or low, made of glass or sound-absorbing fabric for better acoustics, a bank of cubicles can still be aesthetically pleasing. Modular cubicles bring flexibility to oddly shaped or small spaces, and can be just the thing for a fluctuating work force. By having a bank of cubicles designed specifically for your needs, you can ensure maximum usage of your space and incorporate design elements that are pleasing to the eye. Consider bright or soothing colors, frosted glass partitions, and materials conducive to individual employee expression, such as built-in plant stands or shelves for a small collection of knickknacks. In doing so, you can make their work-home a place of comfort and productivity rather than something to escape at the end of the workday.
Cubicles don't even need to be cube shaped. By choosing curvature to the individual desks or unique shapes, you can play with the aesthetic of the room without sacrificing individual space or overall floor real estate. In considering unique styles and materials, your cubicles can become part of the artistic element of your office design. Avoid the cube farm, where employees are assigned to their rows and their workspace gives the impression of boundaries they cannot cross. String cubicles into distinctive, asymmetrical pockets around your office to provide interest to the eye while still maintaining the level of privacy your employees need.
If your workforce is made up of teams, and you fear cubicles will separate them and stifle the creativity and flow of ideas, configure your desks in a way that provides inclusivity for team members. Partner people up so when they're working together, their workspace is their oasis where they're comfortable pursuing fresh ideas, innovation, and teamwork side by side without any barriers. By turning the walls around, you can specify the number or work stations in a pod, giving yourself flexibility for teams that grow and fluctuate as they meet the needs of your clients.
Today's cubicle designs are ideal for staying up with technology and workforce comfort. With a multitude of adjustable options, you can provide space for your employees to meet their needs, from sit-stand benching systems, customizable desk heights and sizes, and built in technology ports. Cubicle design has come a long way since bland, padded walls in row after row of inflexible workstations. Don't let the increasing trend of open office spaces deter you from cubicles if your ideal setting requires them.