Open desk space vs cubicles – which is preferable?
Office administrators and support staff have voiced strong opinions on this debate for decades: which is better, an open office with strategic desk placement or cubicles divided into individual work spaces? For many years, partitioning office space into cubicles held sway over the open desk scheme, but that trend appears to be changing in favor of spacious arrangements that offer workers and clients a comfortable atmosphere. While many office workers agree that an opened up office scheme is preferable to an arrangement of cubicles, this trend does not come without a few distinct disadvantages. In the end, it’s up to the people who work in these settings to decide which format best suits their styles and the type of work that takes place, but it might also be beneficial to do a side-by-side comparison of some elements associated with office arrangements before reaching a final decision.
Comparing office activities in cubicles vs open spaces
– Communication and teamwork:
Open desk arrangements are typically more conducive to teamwork and communication between employees. For industries in which workers must collaborate frequently, or engage in group discussions, an open desk configuration works very well. For businesses in which employees work mostly on their own, cubicles might be the better option.
– Noise and privacy:
Privacy is one of the biggest advantages of working in a cubicle setting. This is especially true during telephone calls when office workers could accidentally overhear confidential conversations. Noise is another factor that can interfere with work conducted outside of a cubicle arrangement. If privacy and noise aren’t an important element of how a company operates, then either configuration is an option.
– Work flow and interruptions:
While open office spaces promote teamwork, they may also invite colleague interruptions and breaks in the flow of work. By contrast, cubicles provide a more isolated setting, enabling most workers to develop an efficient work flow. Cubicles also mean fewer interruptions by other workers and even administrative staff members.
The final word
No single office configuration automatically trumps another. Finding an arrangement that promotes the ideal working environment depends upon an amalgam of factors unique to each industry as well as the preferences of the company and its staff of office workers. Sometimes the best way to solve the desks vs cubicles debate is by trial and error and by paying attention to the overall comfort and contentment of office personnel.
Choosing the right furniture for your office is a matter of both style and function. While you might love hot pink futons, your clients might balk, especially if you’re a lawyer. Projecting the right image is crucial when planning your office space. You want your clients to have faith in your ability to deliver professional services, and the image you project ultimately will increase or decrease their confidence in your abilities. While pink futons might strike your fancy, they might strike fear in the heart of your potential client and scream out zany and unprofessional in a legal environment.
If you will be having lengthy sessions with your clientèle, comfort will be a factor. Instead of straight backed and chairs with hard surfaces, softer angled chairs with comfortable armrests are a great choice to project professionalism and comfort. If you are an IT or software company, a more modern styled conference table makes a better statement than traditional wood. Of course, you should always keep aesthetics in mind when choosing furniture. Although decorating an attorney’s office is a far cry from decorating a graphic designer’s office, traditional doesn’t have to be bland. While dark oak furniture signifies timelessness and solidity, paring an oak desk and bookshelves with colorful and vibrant plants, flowers and subtle decorative touches can soften an otherwise harsh look.
People often overlook the effect that lighting fixtures lend to a room. Whether it’s recessed lighting, candelabra or desk lamps, the lighting options that you choose will have a certain effect on your office space. You can greatly influence mood and aesthetic with certain lights. Soft lighting can be calming and relaxing, while spot lighting can give emphasis to certain aspects of the room. Pairing soft lighting to a room with angular and modern furniture can round off the look and put clients at ease.
In addition to comfort and style, paying specific attention to the image you want to portray while choosing office furniture will help you choose the right style of furniture for your personality and profession. Put yourself in your client’s shoes when you are planning your office space and you’ll have a better idea of the image that you are portraying. Ask yourself questions like, “How would I feel if I went to a doctor’s office and had to sit on a hot pink beanbag?” Not quite the image you would want to have.
Office cubicles have become commonplace in most workplaces and almost a certainty within any large organization. The uniformity, ease of expansion and reduction make this form of business furniture option very popular. All key points should be considered when planning for cubicle configuration including: formation, safety, function and storage.
You have to be able to physically fit the needed number of cubicles in the space you have available. To get to a number you obviously need to know how many employees you have and what size space you have to work with.
If your company places a high value on face time when solving problems then a tight configuration might serve you well. Either way the flexibility of cubicles makes both options very doable.
Storage– Most businesses of decent size experience employee fluctuation on a fairly regular basis and thus having “empty space” is necessary. It is easier to just open a cubicle than to add one and possibly have to reconfigure an entire floor. When the initial calculation of the number of cubicles needed is practiced, this point should be kept in mind.
When planning a cubicle configuration, Safety– Study local building codes. There usually are requirements for offices to have a certain amount of walkway space. Many laws also require that a specific number of fire exits are accessible, so it is important that your formation not block any of these exits and result in a violation.
Probably the most popular configuration is to place the cubicles right in the middle of the floor allowing the traffic to move around the center of the cubicle. The second most popular configuration is to attach the cubicles to the walls which leave space in the middle of the floor for foot traffic.
Whatever cubicle configuration option you choose, take the time to plan wisely and avoid the pain of having to reconfigure because you missed calculated or didn’t take the time at all.
All key points should be considered when planning for cubicle configuration including: formation, function, safety and storage.
Safety– Study local building codes when planning a cubicle configuration. Probably the most popular configuration is to place the cubicles right in the middle of the floor allowing the traffic to move around the center of the cubicle. The second most popular configuration is to attach the cubicles to the walls which leave space in the middle of the floor for foot traffic.