By Pompey | 24 July 2021 | 0 Comments
Everything You Need To Know About Office Cubicle Workstation
While 70% of US offices are open concept, research finds many employees still value traditional workstations to maintain privacy.
Over the past decade, the one-size-fits-all open plan layout has undergone a transition into an activity-based working environment, where flexibility and privacy are prioritized.
To accommodate these changes, modern workstations and cubicles are being re-introduced into the workplace. But don’t worry – cubicles have come a long way since their first appearance in the 1960s. Gone are the days of employee isolation and mundane cubicle design. Today’s designers can provide a selection of varying panel heights, layouts, fabric colors, and design acumen to make your workspace unique.
The Brief Introduction of Cubicle Workstation
There is a reason cubicles are still going strong after 46 years. Cubicles perform a specific task better than most office furniture. The office cubicle, when utilized effectively, minimizes distraction, yet encourages an interactive working environment.
Often derided as impersonal and bland, cubicles, also known as systems furniture or modular workstations, can be interesting, colorful and personalized. Whether your cubicle system succeeds or not is a direct result of how much thought went into designing the cubicle layout. A great cubicle system, if poorly thought out, will yield poor results – an environment no one wants to occupy. A good one, however, can be a great place in which to work.
Cubicles have been office fixtures for a long time, and their original patents have expired. Competitors make “clones” of those made by major manufacturer which are interchangeable with the name brand cubicles, or smaller companies design and manufacture their own design.
With careful planning, including smart selection and good design - you can create a stunning cubicle system layout that is affordable, visually appealing and highly functional.
Cubicles can be just about anything you want them to be and if you put a little bit of thought into how you bring a cubicle system together, the results can be attractive and surprising.
Optimizing you cubicle system design means integrating various configurations and accessories into a custom furniture layout to make it highly functional, interesting and unique to your needs.
You can customize cubicles by changing these components:
- Panel width and/or height
- Panel details
- Storage options
- Paper management options
Cubicle systems look best when they incorporate a variety of configurations within your space plan. For instance, if you’ve got a floor full of small call center cubicles in a row, you can add style and vitality to the floor by integrating them with a row of 120 degree serpentine cubicles. Utilizing professional space planning is the best way to design a workspace that is highly functional and collaborative.
The Important Role of Cubicle Workstations in Modern Office
In the past decade, the entire notion of office design has changed dramatically, and has come a long way from the days of cubicle farms for team members and secluded private offices for executives.
The modern office is not just a place to punch the clock. It has become a thriving ecosystem combining elements of live, work and play. Private offices and boardrooms have transformed into creative and collaborative centers, and high cubicle walls have been replaced with versatile workstations.
The modern workspace has become wildly imaginative throughout the years, and now serves as a critical recruiting and retention tool for businesses with a major focus on productivity, collaboration, integration and connectivity.
Cubicles and workstations have withstood the test of time and design to become one of the most adaptable collaborative office assets. They have evolved into benching systems, dogbone collaborative hubs and open workstations to facilitate better communication.
The flexibility of cubicles is still viable in the modern office, so if you have existing systems to work with, ask us how they can be reinvented into you space plan.
Meet&Co is one of the best office workstation manufacturers and offers different kinds of modern cubicles with its premium quality. If you need to purchase large quantity of office workstations, we’re always here to help you.
Things to Consider When Utilizing Office Cubicles WorkstationsConsider Privacy vs. Community: When utilized effectively, the office cubicle minimizes distraction, yet encourages an interactive working environment. Selecting the optimal cubicle height will accommodate a wide variety of work styles.
Ranging in height from 42” to 80” tall, aim for a panel height that offers privacy while seated but encourages inter-office communication when standing. Low panels allow employees to see and talk to each other, whereas high panels allow for quiet, focused work without outside distractions.
Consider Employee Workflow: How does layout impact your office productivity? Which teams should be clustered together? Who should be located closer to the copier or the supply room? With thoughtful space planning you can foster effective collaboration between teams with similar functions.
Consider Culture and Aesthetics: What image and environment do you want to cultivate? Selecting the right finishes and colors can uplift and align the branding of your company. Panels are available in a wide array of fabrics, woods, and laminates. If your company is more traditional, you’ll want to set some boundaries for cubicle decorating in areas that are in the public eye. If not, allow employees to embrace their work- space by personalizing their cubicles.
Consider Rethinking Space Utilization: Traditional office cubicles have a bad reputation – bulky paneling, dim lighting, poor acoustics, and the isolation of employees.
For highly collaborative teams, optimizing your space may involve downsizing individual workstations to create additional common areas and interconnecting dogbone hubs for open collaboration.
Space utilization allows more employees to fit in the same size space, which removes the hassle of lengthy architectural renovations or pricey relocations.
Consider Ergonomics and Wellness: In today’s competitive market, it’s important to offer employees a multitude of ergonomic options. A recent study found that employees in a call center who used standing desks were 46 percent more productive than colleagues who used standard desks.
Beyond productivity, ergonomic solutions place value on your employees’ health. Task lighting, and adjustable monitor arms also provide wellness options.
Consider “Hot-Desking” for Flexible Workers: Desk booking is all about flexibility and collaboration. Like “hot-desking,” the ideal desk booking system makes communication and interaction between team members a breeze. Instead of subjecting employees to a single cubicle, workers can switch between individual workstations, open tables, desks, or even couches.
Access to flexible workspaces increases efficiency and productivity by creating a shared network among teams. It’s an approach that keeps everyone plugged in, even when they’re away from a physical desk.
Our professional space planning team can help you develop an optimal office layout that meets all your requirements
Space Planning of Cubicle Workstation
Space Planners provide expertise and advice on utilizing cubicle components to make your office more productive with a workflow that enables your team to become highly functional, while also fulfilling your needs and budget.
They can help you consider whether to choose a traditional grid layout or an organic layout using 120-degree work surfaces, or a combination of both.
Planners can make recommendations on when to use an open plan and when and where to insert privacy cubicles. They will know where to position aisles, and how to configure an end cubicle to serve as a reception area.
New, Pre-Owned or Refurbished Cubicles?
Sometimes purchasing pre-owned cubicles can be an incredible savings of 30-70% off the cost of comparable new cubicle systems.
Used cubicle systems often look new, but even if they have some wear and tear, you can have them refurbished with new fabric and worksurfaces to fit your office design.
Refurbished cubicles cost about 60-80% less than new cubicles, and you can opt for all new fabric and worksurfaces. With this option, you get to pick the color and pattern of fabric and laminate, as well as the shape of the worksurfaces to install into into your workspace. Customization options will raise the price, but may be the best option to match your design.
It is essential to utilize the skills and experience of a Furniture Consultant and Space Planner to get the most bang for your buck. These professionals have the expertise to advise you on when to mix new with used or refurbished components to achieve the best look for your workflow.
When done properly, with the right design team in place, it will virtually impossible to tell the difference between mixing new, pre-owned and refurbished cubicles blended together in a blended workspace environment.
The design possibilities are endless.
Customization of Cubicle Workstation
Cubicles are constructed from cubicle panels of varying sizes and shapes. Panels can be covered in your choice of fabrics and even have clear plastic or glass “tiles” to serve as windows. This is a great stylistic element, allowing ambient light to reach your workspace but, at the same time, preserving acoustical privacy.
The panels are almost always rectangular but vary by height and width. A new cubicle line will always come with a list of the available panel sizes and a set of well-thought out suggested layouts known as “typicals”.
Space planners can vary the layouts from the typical to make your particular office space the most productive and aesthetically pleasing it can be, taking your budget into account.
Customization adds very little to the price and at the same time maximizes the value you are getting due to better functionality.
Different Types of Cubicle Workstations in Workspace
Call Center Cubicles
Call Center Cubicles (also referred to as “telemarketing cubicles” or “hot seats”) are often the best option when a small footprint is desired.
They provide the smallest cubicle foot print, very similar to library study carrels. This layout incorporates desk space to work on and about a foot and a half of room for the shoulders on either side with panels in front and to the side.
Panels can extend beyond the desk in a call center layout, sometimes as much as two and a half feet.
Standard Cubicles provide a more spacious layout. The only larger typical layout is a manager’s cubicle which is completely enclosed. These cubicles are for individuals whose roles require them to work with a variety of materials throughout the day so that they might be using both their computer as well as documents, files or schematics.
They are also a useful tool for people whose function involves collaborating at their desk periodically throughout the day.
Standard cubicles can incorporate accessories such as mobile pedestals with cushions that a visitor can sit on and then roll back underneath the desk when not in use. These cubicles also have room for a guest chair for visitors. Work surfaces can be in an L-shape or a U-shape, and can have high or low panels, depending on collaboration and privacy requirements.
These are great solutions for accounting departments and medical clerical areas where more collaborative functionality may be needed throughout the workday.
Typical footprints are:
- 6 ft. x 6 ft.
- 6 ft. x 8 ft. and
- 8 ft. x 8 ft.
Receptionist Cubicle Workstation
Receptionist Cubicles can provide a smaller offices with a professional looking workspace to greet clients, without costing thousands of dollars for a custom reception station. These cubicles have a low wall in at least one direction so that the receptionist can speak with visitors and clients.
Often there will be a “transaction counter” built into this wall, so visitors use it as a writing surface if needed.
If the receptionist is in an office where he/she may be handling confidential information, it is useful to have a higher partition separating him from the visitor. These systems can also accommodate sit/stand desks and higher chairs if needed to maintain privacy.
Another good way to maintain a degree of confidentiality is to use an L-shaped desk, with one side of the “L” incorporating a low wall, while the other side has a high wall. The work surface can run along both sides, allowing the receptionist to work with confidential materials on the surface adjoining the high wall.
X -Shaped Cloverleaf Workstations
X -Shaped Cloverleaf Workstations are similar to the standard workstation, an “X” cubicle layout (also known as a cloverleaf pod) takes advantage of the cost-saving tactic of sharing cubicle panels. Because “walls” are shared, you have to invest in fewer panels. The X -shaped layout can also be arranged so that it is diagonal to cubicle rows for a more interesting look. They can also look different depending upon whether you use low or high panels.
Dogbone Workstations are frequently used in open plan offices. They have 120-degree angles, allowing for a person to desk at either end on a boomerang-shaped worksurface. Dogbone worksurfaces can be separated by low panels, like in benching systems, allowing for an open collaborative workspace. To keep things open 39” high panels work well. For a bit more privacy 47” high panels can be used.
If you want overhead storage, you probably want to select 67” high panels. The design is unique and interesting and adds variety to a systems furniture layout. Dogbone cubicles can be used to break up a space otherwise occupied by grid-aligned cubicle rows.
Managerial Cubicles, also known as Modular Office with doors or Full Privacy cubicles, address one of the original complaints about cubicles: lack of privacy. In modern workspace design, the private office is largely considered an anachronism, walling off an organization’s leaders from the staff, breaking the chain of communication.
There are still specific cases where privacy is necessary and information must be encapsulated. People working in human resources, with private financial information, and with private information in general still need privacy. Modular offices with doors allow you to create an enclosed space within an open floor plan that does not require zoning or construction. High walls – typically 85” high – create a zone of privacy that will fit the needs of people requiring confidentiality. They have doors that can be locked and the high walls allow for lockable storage overhead or underneath work surfaces.
Serpentine/Ripple (120-Degree) Workstations
Serpentine/Ripple (120-Degree) Workstations are systems furniture layouts with 120-degree connectors. The ripple cubicle layout creates a unique look and functions well for collaborative teams that work together every day. Teams like digital designers & web developers that need proximity to develop their concepts. This layout has a more open feeling than workspaces with perpendicular walls. Workstations in a serpentine configuration need more space because the geometry of the ripple is wider than the space you could create if you were simply adding perpendicular walls.
Panel Fabrics of Cubicle Workstation
When choosing both fabric and laminate, there is a wide variety in the price, availability and lead-times for the different choices. Standard styles are significantly less expensive than trendier patterns and colors.
Given that your entire furniture system will be covered in these materials, more expensive swatches can add up substantially when you’re looking at systems with hundreds or thousands of square feet. If you really love the color or pattern, you might be able to use it strategically on the out- side walls to create zones.
As a rule of thumb, a single cubicle might be covered in 350 square feet of fabric. With a large office layout, twenty cents a square foot more can become several thousand dollars. The color of systems panels is what gives your office a branded appearance.
You can take the same panel and, depending on the fabric you wrap it in, make it as unobtrusive or as vibrant as you want it to be. A huge variety of non-standard, more expensive fabrics are available, although they usually require a longer lead-time than our standard fabric selection – just ask your Furniture Consultant.
Another reason to be very careful about color choice is that certain colors and patterns tend to show dirt much more than others. Yes, cubicle panels can be cleaned, but which panel fabric you choose can make the difference between a bright, clean looking office and one that may be newer but look older because parts of it look dirty. White, for example, is very trendy, but is a disaster for showing dingy. Use the expertise of your Space Planner and/or Furniture Consultant to select fabrics that are beautiful, practical and within your budget.
Custom fabric choices are an effective way to utilize your branding on the cubicles to set a tone for your overall work- space. Keep in mind that not all of the panels have to be the same color. Accent colors can be used selectively - as a tile, as a tack board, or as one panel, with more basic colors such as cream or gray filling in the rest of the color palette.
Other components like work top surfaces, walls, plants and huddle spaces can also become part of your brand color story and work with the cubicle layout to tell your unique brand story. The key is creating a dialog between each of these components to make your workspace unique and highly functional for your team.
This is where designers can really be important to your plan.
Laminate Worksurfaces with Different Cubicle Workstations
Laminate work surfaces can create a range of styles, from contemporary to conservative, depending on the color, design and style of the furnishings they are matched with.
Laminates are available in a huge variety of colors and patterns - from bright primary or pastel colors, to earth tones, wood patterns and neutral colors. As with fabrics, standard, more widely used colors and patterns are usually available quicker and less expensively than more unique and trendy options. However, if your corporate color scheme calls for certain colors, it might be well worth the price to select a special laminate color.
Simulated wood surfaces are more realistic than ever. You can choose everything from light tones to dark tones, from fine grain to interesting thick grains that match the look from exotic wood. Colors also range from dark ebony, to red oak to light yellow pine or maple for a modern, airy look.
Simulated stone surfaces feature patterns ranging from marble, to granite to grey soapstone. Like wood grain laminates, these are made with modern techniques and are much more realistic and attractive to the eye than the laminates you may occasionally see on bargain furniture or in furnishings that are decades old.
Abstract patterns are also a nice choice with colors and patterns that incorporate subtle fields of shapes stripes or dots. These are often modern in an understated way and can provide texture to an area in a more neutral way than wood and stone laminate surfaces. Some can be striking with vibrant colors and more boldly accentuated shapes.
Custom Cubicle Worksurface Shapes
You can customize the look of your work surfaces by picking from a palette of available shapes. Above are the most common worksurface shapes. Other shapes are available upon request.
D-tops, P-tops and half circles are used to support mini-meetings by accommodating two or more people talking.
Soundproof Panels of Cubicle Workstation
The normal fabric on cubicle walls has some sound dampening qualities, but if you feel that this might not be enough for your situation then soundproof panels may be a good investment. They can significantly reduce the noise in your work area, allowing for better concentration and productivity. They are more expensive than regular panels and must be specifically requested.
Power and Data of Cubicle Workstation
Cubicles come powered or unpowered. If you choose an unpowered cubicle, then you’ll need to take into consideration the fact that you will have to provide your own power to all electronic items within the cubicle environment, including lighting , computers, printers and phones.
Powered cubicle options will need to be discussed in detail with your Furniture Consultant, because you will need to hire an electrician and data cabler to provide any required power and data to the cubicles. This will also affect how the layout is constructed for connectivity. Building codes require that this work be done by an electrician. Depending on the number of cubicles you require, this could mean multiple power access points. You can select either an overhead (ceiling) or base feed (or both) for your cubicles. Powered cubicles have receptacles built into the base of the panels. Wiring schematics are available from individual manufacturers for different brands of workstations, which can be emailed to you for your electrician’s use.
Sound Masking Systems of Cubicle Workstation
Sound masking systems can do a lot to reduce noise in an open plan cubicle area and we highly recommend you invest in a sound masking system. You may not realize a sound masking system is in place but, when you turn it off, everyone is highly aggravated by the sounds they can hear from across the room that you were masked when the sound masking system turned on.
Cubicle Workstation Accessories
There are many cubicle accessory options to increase your workspace functionality:
Storage is an important issue when choosing cubicle accessories. It used to be that everyone needed one or two pedestals and a lateral file cabinet. It is nice to be able to clear your desk of clutter at the end of the day but still have ease of accessibility for tasks at hand the next day. People still like to have a place to lock valuables, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Overheads attache to the cubicle wall, usually flush with the top. It can be an “open shelf” (full or half-height) or have a “flipper” door that can be locked. These can be used as storage for files, notebooks, personal items, manuals, laptops, lunch, or tablet PCs. They are usually covered with fabric that can match or contrast with panel fabric(s).
Pedestals & Laterals: Pedestals are vertical drawers that can fit underneath a work surface. They can be affixed to the bottom of the work surface (hanging) or simply rest on the ground (standing). Pedestals can be mobile and they can have a cushion on the top so they can be rolled out from under the desk and used as an extra seat for a visitor, then rolled back as needed.
Markerboards are an environmentally friendly way to brainstorm without having to throw anything away. Studies show that most meetings in the contemporary workplace happen at someone’s desk. Whiteboards can be added to a lot of different places in a cubicle to enable spontaneous idea sharing.
Pencil Drawers, Paper Management & Task Lighting: They can be installed almost anywhere in the cubicle. Paper trays, binder holders and diagonal sorters can keep your desk orga- nized. Task lighting evolving as LED lighting becomes more prevalent.
Ergonomics in Cubicle Workstation Design
Ergonomics in the workplace is a topic unto itself but, in regards to accessorizing your cubicle workspace, these are the most important accessories to consider.
Ergonomic Task Chairs are considered one of the most important pieces of office furniture to purchase, a good, highly adjustable ergonomic task chair is of utmost importance. This is a topic unto itself but it is important not to underestimate the importance of this key purchase.
Ergonomic Computer Monitor Arms are great space-savers in a space and allow you to adjust your monitor to fit your posture, your vision, and your optimum seating position though out the day. This will help reduce neck, back, and eye strain, which can reduce absenteeism and the cost of Workers’ Compensation claims.
Ergonomic Keyboard Tray are a great tool to ensure that you are working at the optimum posture to minimize muscle pains and soreness throughout the day. The adjust and tilt at an angle that helps minimize the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome and can keep your desktop clear.
Workstation’s Benching Systems
A benching system is essentially a long table or structure that employees share. It is minimal in appearance however it is high in functionality.
They can populate an entire office or integrate into an existing cubicle/workstation environment seamlessly. Benching can transition an outmoded environment very quickly when a growth spurt prompts a renovation.
The key points of using a benching system are:
- Improved team member engagement
- Great for use in small spaces
- Increased productivity
- Professional, modern looking office
- Saves the company money
A big draw for startups is that many benching systems offer great flexibility. They can be moved around and adjusted to fit any office space. As your team grows so can your desking options. You can add elements to your design and if needed you can reconfigure them to accommodate one employee or an entire team at one station.
Benching systems are very flexible, so you can have fun designing your office around them and arrange them to create a geometric design. You want your office to look professional, however, you also want to create an atmosphere of creativity for your employees, the trick is finding the right balance.
First impressions have always been important, and in the business world they are critical. Your potential clients will take every detail of your office into consideration and form an opinion within seconds.
Believe it or not, a well designed and clean layout says a lot about your approach to problem-solving and execution.
Whether you choose workstations or benching systems, it is important that they look clean and professional.
Open Plan Design in The Office
Open concept office design has altered the cubicle landscape by creating more collaborative team environments. The advantages of integrating benching systems into your cubicle office environment are plentiful.
Collaboration: Office benching systems within your office design give you the ability to group your employees together, which is great for team-driven strategists like engineering and creative/marketing departments where employees thrive off being able to bounce off ideas in a open setting. The benching workstation concept allows for teams to build strong bonds without cubicles walls getting the way of their conversations. Better communication means better productivity.
Limited Space within your current office plan might make benching a better option to keep things open and airy. With space at a premium, office benching systems will allow you to fit more people in a smaller space at a budget friendly cost savings.
The Increased Flexibility with modular systems grow with your company. Open benching workstations can be more flexible – not only can you expand systems to accommodate more employees as your company grows, but they can be shifted on the floor most of the time very quickly. You can configure and reconfigure them as your needs change.
Benching systems give designers the perfect vehicle for hybrid environments with cubicles. The implementation of height-adjustable tables, low panel systems and mobile storage add functionality to these systems.
Expanding your options is the beauty of open plan office design.
In the post-COVID-19 world, workplace cubicles are having a revival to assist us feel safe and remain protected in the office. The timeless design of office cubicles has ended up with a bad reputation thanks to motion pictures like "Workplace Space," cubicle workstations can in fact have numerous workplace benefits. Plus, with the rise of contemporary cubicle style, those gray boxes have actually ended up being a distant memory. If you're wanting to revamp your workplace for ideal safety and performance, cubicle workstations might be the ideal solution for you.
Meet&Co is one of the best office furniture manufacturer on the office furniture manufacturing market. If you’re looking to purchase a large quantity of office furniture, including office desks, office chairs, office sofa, school furniture, office workstation, ergonomic chair, school desks, standing desks, electric standing desks, plastic chairs, we’re always here to help you.
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