How many times over the last 15 years have you read an article about the imminent “Death of the cubicle”? It’s a meme that keeps cropping up over and over regardless of how often it is proven wrong. There’s another article up on Mashable right now that says almost 1 out of 5 professionals believe that the cubicle will be “extinct” within the next 5 years. We’re not going to be putting any money on that prediction. In fact, the cubicle has made more comebacks than a reanimated corpse in a zombie movie.
No matter how many times someone writes about what the “cubicle-free” offices look like at Google and FaceBook, most white collar workers don’t work at those two companies. In fact, those are the same firms that come up whenever anyone does a slideshow about the coolest offices in the world. Obviously, this distinction doesn’t make them trend setters; it makes them outliers. The fact is that the backlash against the open office with its high noise levels and complete lack of privacy has already begun. Until someone comes up with a completely different alternative, we’re probably looking at most employers finding a balance between open and secluded work areas. For enclosed workstations, a cubicle with high panels (or a desk with surface mounted privacy panels) is the most sensible and cost effective solution.
So, while design details may continue to change, we think the cubicle is here to stay for the next 5 years – and probably the next 50. Perhaps they will outlast us all…
Image courtesy of Flickr user joelogon