Installing phone lines, modems, and cameras all day allows our technicians to see a variety of businesses, each with its unique style. But in offices, it seems there are two main options: Cubicle or Open Office.
The cubicle has been a symbol of the workplace since the 1960s. The characters of the Dilbert comics were often seen in front of the backdrop of the classic brownish-grey fabric that cubicles seem to always be covered in. Cubicles developed a reputation around monotony, anonymity, and lack of sunlight.
So the open workspace is better, right? It lets you interact with others, you might actually be able to see the windows from where you’re sitting, and there’s no fuzzy grey wall in front of you. All that positivity must lead to productivity, right? I mean, why else would designers have thought of it?
The truth is, open offices are not a new concept. Just look at this image from the U.S. National archives of an open workspace in 1937. The design of this room does nothing for the monotony, anonymity and lack of sunlight. In fact, it had additional issues, especially lack of privacy. Everyone can hear and see everything you do, including any sensitive information being written down. Being able to see what your neighbors are doing can provide plenty of opportunity for distraction. The development of cubicles actually came from an effort to reduce such problems in an open office.
The popular resurgence of open offices may be due to the fact that they are less expensive than having thirty or more half-walls distributed across the floor. Also, some businesses want to see more interaction between their employees and an open workspace facilitates that. It can even help managers and supervisors appear more approachable.
There are pros and cons to each design and choosing one over the other seems to depend on the needs of the business, as well as of the employees. What kind of office style do you currently work in? Which one do you prefer? Leave a comment below, we would be interested to find out.
Once you settle on a design for your office, give us a call and we’ll make sure that everyone –whether in a cubicle or a giant shared table– gets the phone and internet setup needed to be as productive as possible!