Cubicles have one of the worst image problems of any office workspace layout. Memes and cartoons abound promulgating the idea that cubicles are drear boxes and many offices turned to open office design. However, it turns out cubicles are better than open layouts, especially if panel extenders are implemented, and here’s why!
According to recent research in Sydney, AU, almost 50% of workers in both open floor plan offices and cubicles say noise is the main distraction that reduces their efficiency and makes coming to work a drag. Many point to the added annoyance of “lack of sound privacy”, saying they feel simultaneously irritated that every co-worker’s business – personal and work related – is being aired in earshot, and frustrated that they have no expectation of privacy for their own phone calls or conversations.
There’s another issue. Around 30% of these same employes are bothered and hampered by the lack of “visual privacy”. Workers trying to concentrate on projects with a tight deadline can be distracted and slowed down by the constant bustle around them. Between the visual distractions and the ever increasing issues of noise cubicles and open spaces are both unhappy places to work for many.
Open office layouts don’t offer much of a chance for improvement. Cubicles, however, can be adapted for employee privacy, comfort and productivity.
Panel extenders are the first step you should take, they help in two ways:
- The correct panel extenders can help muffle or absorb sound, reducing the need for workers to cower in their cubicles – hunched over their desks with sound cancelling headphones or earbuds jammed in to reduce distractions.
- Panel extenders can also cut down on the visual distractions – and allowing customization as per employee preference can help improve morale. Those who need solitude to work well can opt for cubicle height extenders that raise their walls above the level at which a coworker can easily pop their head over, while those engaged in collaborative work can go for a shorter panel to facilitate back and forth.
Is your open office layout or low walled cubicle farm not working to your advantage? Consider making the switch to a cubicle format with panel extenders to raise walls and cut down on distractions!