Advocates of open office plans say high cubicle walls restrict workplace socialization. As a result, many office managers don’t like to see walls that come up higher than a seated employees eyebrows, on the premise that workers who can’t see and hear the person near them feel isolated and alienated. However, that’s not the case at all for many workers, who find that they simply can’t concentrate without a place of their own.
Could it be that higher cubicle panels actually improve connection and communication in the workplace, rather than preventing friendly and amiable interaction at work? When surveying groups of office workers, it turns out that the pet peeve of many is constant interruptions when they are trying to finish a task before deadline or day’s end – or worse. Interruptions is actually often used as a polite term for unwanted socialization, with the workers who want to do the job and go home resenting those who treat the office like a ninth grade school hallway.
Cubicle height extenders can help alleviate some of the aggravation, by making it just a little harder to invade someone else’s space. When a co-worker has to literally walk into the other person’s private workspace in order to speak to them, generally having to get their attention from behind their back, the amount of unnecessary interruptions goes way down. In contrast, when someone can simply stand up and holler at a coworker on either side or across from them, the temptation to gossip, chat and socialize when not appropriate is encouraged.
Even the simple act of rolling a chair around the corner to talk to another cube worker has the potential to make employees more mindful. It’s kind of like having candy stored on the top shelf in the pantry instead of in a candy dish at your desk. You appreciate it more (and are less likely to overindulge) when the candy is not staring you right in the face all day.
With low cubicles installed as the standard and panel extenders used to customize work-spaces, all employees can have the level of privacy and comfort they need to be happy and productive.