Who doesn’t get a shiver down their spine when hearing the word "cubicle"? It evokes images of depressing, windowless, colorless office spaces. (And, of course, the classic, spot-on movie Office Space.) The non-descript beige-gray shade of the tackboard fabric, the sad filing cabinets and overhead storage cabinets, the dated computers and fax machines.
As dreadful as this aesthetic crime scene may be, cubicles were designed for a very specific purpose. Cubicles take up much less space than private offices, and yet provide a modicum of visual privacy and a well-defined private space for their occupants. The tackboards do more than provide wall space for attaching schedules, memos, and other important information; they serve an acoustical purpose, eliminating the echo effect by absorbing sound. I liken old-school cubicles to communism: good idea, terrible execution. Both lack beauty, personalization, and imagination.
The open desk set-up, with no dividers, makes the office look cleaner, happier, and airier. However, this set-up does not work for every type of business. Semi-private workspaces that are modern, inviting, and inspiring are possible. Below are a few examples of how exciting a cubicle can be, which might just raise an eyebrow or two.
There is no doubt that each employee requires proper tools to perform his work. However, creating a personalized, fun work environment is also high on the list of the virtues of an optimal office set-up. It’s doable, easy, and the possibilities are endless.