Movable cubicles are maybe one of the most controversial inventions of the 20th century. People continually have mixed opinions regarding their value and significance. However, most have defended these things to be the savior of employee privacy and individuality.
To give a quick definition, cubicles are three-walled workstations designed to provide an employee a moderate level of privacy from other office workers. Workstations are separated by walls, typically five to six feet tall, and are formed into squares, or cubes, with three or three and a half sides. A small entry way is left open for quick access of other employees. This is not as private as a single-room, closed-door office, but not as exposed as compared to an open office floor plan.
Movable cubicles are first conceptualized in 1960 by Robert Propst for the company Herman Miller Research Corporation. The company aimed to provide solutions to office furniture-related problems, but not about the furniture itself. Their task is to research on how the office environment can push employees to be at their most excellent, productive selves without hampering their overall health and welfare.
However, it was only in 1967 that the first designs of the cubicle concept were released in public and actually utilized. The first successful setup was called Action Office II, which Propst solely designed and created. Action Office I was done with a partner, but wasn’t received very well.
It was Propst who found out about an office employee’s need for constant change in his environment to maintain motivation and inspiration. With the cubicle’s portable design, the office itself can stay at par with this need without the additional cost of having to buy new furniture. Employees also benefited with better privacy and the ability to personalize their workstations without affecting the workspaces of those around them.
These days, movable cubicles continue to flourish in call centers, stock exchanges, service-oriented corporations, and other ultra-modern companies especially after the information technology bubble. Some global corporations have reported an increase in employee productivity and satisfaction since switching into a cubicle environment.
Here are some of the best known benefits of the cube farm setup:
1.Improved employee privacy
If you have a long to-do list, having your own “safe place” can increase your concentration and allow you to complete more tasks. It also provides you the quiet space you need to prepare for more challenging tasks ahead.
2.Harmonious relationship with co-employees
Movable cubicles may have walls, but they are flexible and temporary. They are not closed like those of a private office. When you are working only a few feet away from your colleagues, you can have a better chance of getting to know them better to build a pleasant professional relationship. It will prove to be beneficial because these are actually the people you are most likely to spend most of your time with.
3.Probability of more opportunities to get noticed
When you are working side-by-side with co-workers, your chances to show your skills and get noticed will be extremely high. Because you are collaborating with individuals of different skill sets, you can learn a lot from them by working together. And vice-versa.
4.Provides a way for employees to express their individuality
Many cubicle occupants take advantage of the personal space given them by expressing their own personality. Items inside the cubicle can tell what kind of person dwells in it, which results in better camaraderie inside the office.
5.Movable cubicles are cost-effective
They are less expensive to set up and rearrange than the closed-door, brick and mortar private office. The cost of giving each employee his own office may be too difficult to bear for a company to be sustainable.