How Do Cubicles Fit in Modern Office Design?

When you say “office cubicle” most people have a vision in their mind of something akin to the movie Office Space. Row on row of bland grey fabric cubicles with fluorescent lighting.

The term cubicle farm was coined for good reason, this type of view was common in large corporations for many years. But, the creator of cubicles never meant for them to turn into a depressing way to cram as many workers as possible into a big room. They were meant to introduce autonomy, privacy, and individuality, and promote better health.

The Herman Miller corporation introduced Action Office II to the market in 1968. Action Office II took the furniture design world, and corporations, by storm, forever changing office design and construction. Action Office II, and the knock off designs that followed, became known as cubicles

image10Originally, Robert Propst, the designer, had studied corporate offices, and found that they were noisy, highly distracting, and lacked privacy. At that point most offices were a large open room with rows and rows of desks. He felt that workers needed more privacy, and a workspace they could customize to suit them. In theory, Action Office II was supposed to bring more autonomy to employees, allowing them to move around their custom spaces and work in whatever way was best for them. 

Unfortunately, large corporations viewed it differently: cubicles were a cheap way to cram as many identical tiny offices into one space as possible, and fill them with staff. Cubicles were cheap to buy, easy to build, and meant you didn’t have to do much construction in a space. That’s how cubicle farms were born. 

Cubicles Vs. Workstations: What's the Difference?

Luckily, in the past few years there have been some pretty big changes in the office furniture design world. It seems like every year more studies are released highlighting how our environment impacts our health, mood, and productivity. It turns out we’re more productive when we have natural light, when we can see out windows, when we are surrounded by plants, and when our workspaces are customized to fit our bodies.

Workplace wellness has become a common term, concerned with making sure that employees health and wellbeing is supported with an inviting environment and ergonomic furniture. Office design now aims for views out windows, more collaborative and flexible work spaces, and the integration of plants.

Cubicle design (or workstations as they are becoming more commonly known) have adapted to fit that these new trends. 

Are Cubicles Still Affordable?

They can be. While brand new cubicles or workstations with endless customizable options can be pricey, there are alternatives. Envirotech carries a wide variety of refurbished, remanufactured, and used workstation options. 

In the Haworth line there is Premise, Compose, and Unigroup, each filling a different niche. 

  • Premise is a large range with countless options for configuration, suitable for large or small spaces, and with plenty of accessories to personalize the space. It features pops of vibrant color to contrast with the minimalist design. 
  • Unigroup is the simplest of the three, with clean lines, bright finishes, and classic minimalist style, it’s designed for durability. 
  • The Lacasse Nvision Benching Pod is a set of 6 small desks facing each other. High dividers between desks adds privacy for users. The compact style of the Benching pod makes it perfect for university study nooks, or computer labs, where students need just enough space to set down books and a laptop for studying between classes.
  • The Lacasse Nvision Pod provides users with their own dedicated space, but also makes it easy to turn to coworkers for collaboration, with a shared workspace in between them. The Nvision line has plenty of options for personalization and configuration. It’s ideal for collaborative teams in smaller spaces.

Envirotech buys and revitalizes used office furniture. Because the process of altering and updating the furniture uses way less time, materials, and energy, we can resell high-end customizable workstations at a much lower cost than brand new. Because of our vast network of suppliers, and a warehouse full of inventory, we can deliver office furniture across North America in as little as 3 weeks. Our inventory includes large collections of some of the top brands, so you don’t have to worry about mixing and matching; we can provide a cohesive matching collection for any size of office. Our process of refurbishing and remanufacturing is also environmentally friendly, keeping tons of furniture waste out of landfills, and using 85-95% less energy than brand new production. 

Envirotech Can Update Your Office on Time and Under Budget

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References:

https://www.wired.com/2014/04/how-offices-accidentally-became-hellish-cubicle-farms/ 

https://www.hermanmiller.com/products/workspaces/workstations/action-office-system/design-story/