Before COVID-19, office workspaces were opening up. Floorplans often included common areas, open desks, and workspaces where laptop-toting employees could settle in and get work done or commune with co-workers. Now, it seems that offices are reversing course, trying to navigate a world where safety precautions are at an all-time high.
So, that poses the question: is the office cubicle making a comeback?
The team here at iSpace Office Interiors thinks so. But, to understand why these office structures are making a comeback, we must first discuss why they were popular to begin with.
History of the Cubicle
In 1968, many companies found the open office space displeasing and counterproductive. Back then, the office spaces were much like we see today: open, collaborative, and always buzzing with conversation. However, atmosphere zapped employee focus and productivity, and so companies set out to change the workplace and make it more productive.
Between 1968 and the late 1970s, businesses toyed with different office layouts, figuring out what worked and what didn’t for their companies. However, the cubicle workspace didn’t really take off until the 80s and 90s when mergers, acquisitions, and economic growth really took off. With more employees cramming into small office spaces and buildings, the cubicle made it easy for everyone to maintain some level of privacy and get their work done.
Today, the cubicle industry represents a $3 billion industry, or at least that was until the open concept started to creep back in. With safety measures being implemented in offices everywhere, it looks like the cubicle life is coming back and in a hurry.
Benefits of Cubicles
There’s no arguing that the cubicle-styled office has many key benefits. Not only do employees find that they have their own space to decorate or enjoy, but cubicles also make for a quieter environment by limiting distractions and unproductive conversations. Employers also notice an increase in productivity, improved privacy for those who need it, and savings of both space and money.
Now, in a world where COVID-19 and other illnesses are top of mind for office managers, the cubicles also provide a safer working environment, keeping employees away from one another and ensuring that germs can’t travel as far.
What Cubicles Look Like Now
As it should be expected, cubicles look different today than they did 50 years ago. Thanks to more design techniques and innovation, your new office furniture can still look and feel like it’s meant for your business. Here are just a few examples of the cubicles iSpace Office recommends.
The 3-wall cubicle is probably the most common. However, these can make your employees feel like they’re boxed in. So, we recommend looking for partitions with a wider entryway and at least one wall of clear panels. This will keep your office space looking light and airy while still accomplishing all of your goals.
Private Open Workstations
If your office already has an open workstation set up or even just a small footprint, you can create a safe amount of space between your employees using clear partitions and rows of cubicles. This layout will ensure your team doesn’t feel cut off from the rest of the office, but yet they can remain effective and productive while sitting at their desks.
Privacy panels are a great way to embrace the cubicle life without putting up boring grey walls. These panels are usually made of plexiglass and can be designed or etched with different colors and logos, providing you with the barriers you need while adhering to your office aesthetics.
Embrace the Cubicle, Embrace Safety
There’s nothing quite like a new office layout and new office furniture to make employees want to come back to work. As we continue to navigate CDC guidelines and a world with COVID-19, changes and tweaks can be made to your office without ruining the company culture. Your top priority is to keep your teams safe, and our priority is to ensure you have the materials to do so. Whether you’re looking for new cubicles, private suites, or help with space planning, iSpace Office Interiors has you covered. Give our Indianapolis, Indiana location a call at (317) 694-7197.