The office cubicle was launched as a perfect way to bridge the gap between individuals’ privacy and open-plan workspaces. At first, it seemed to be an ideal solution. They were cheap and did wonders for the use of every inch of square footage in office blocks around the country.
However, as the cubicle became a permanent feature in the office it became clear that far from being an ideal solution, the cubicle created as many issues as it resolved.
Complaints started to pile up and ranged from headaches to sinus infections.
The fabric of the cubicle and the high walls also restricted the airflow. Studies found that poor ventilation could have a detrimental effect on office workers health, causing low productivity and increased sick leave.
Open-plan offices are inevitably noisy. Unfortunately, the cubicle insubstantial walls did little to dampen the sound.
Although the cubicle fails to block unwanted noise, it certainly blocked natural light.
The legacy of the cubicle is still a remaining feature in many workspaces today.
Research by Steelcase has revealed that when it comes to creating the ideal work space, the things office workers want most of all are straightforward.
1. More natural light.
2. Effective heating and air conditioning
3. Better use of their office space.
British workers emphasise that better lighting and more control over temperature setting would be a big step towards their dream office.
Good natural light, a space which allows free movement and a choice of posture means that workers can feel a sense of belonging and authenticity which has been shown to be vital for creative work.
Bostjan Ljubic, vice president Steelcase UK and Ireland said:
“We need to leave the isolated, office cubicles of the past behind and focus on a solution that combines privacy and openness.
“The research highlights that workers are looking for a space with a dual functionality; a space to relax and focus, where workers are given the power to make decisions over their own working environment. It is therefore of paramount importance to create a work space that caters for different work styles in the office –uniting the private and open work space.”