The History of Office Cubicles – A Brief Explanation!

Today, if you look around, you will find that every office or workplace supports the cubicle system for their employees’ working. Initially, this layout of cubicles was introduced to enhance the productivity of the workers, which also gave an overall organized structure to the offices. You get your own cubicle where you can sit, relax, and do your work calmly without any interference from your colleagues. Other than that, managing space in offices can be a great issue when working with hundreds of employees. In that context, the cubicle plays its role.

Unlike traditional offices with open workspaces, cubicles offer the workers a sense of privacy and ownership. According to statistics, around 85 percent of the employees believe that they would like to work at least part of the time remotely. Hence, cubicles are a perfect solution to give them some ‘me’ space. How amazing it is! Let’s learn about the history of cubicles.

History of Cubicles

Introduced in the year 1960s, cubicles are meant to make the office more organized and efficient. Robert Propst was the man behind this creation who works for the home furnishings company Herman Miller. His motive was to improve the offices’ environment due to the existence of the open-bullpen office plan. He worked on the design by considering all the elements, and that is why he added a huge desk along with the space for attending phone calls, arranging files, partitions, and more in this concept. Plus, all this was there with the advantage of privacy.

The Fall In Cubicles

You won’t believe it, but after the introduction of the cubicle system, it failed miserably. Yes, you read it right. Some of the basic reasons were- it was expensive and the whole concept was totally opposite of what was being followed. In short, it failed to penetrate the executive market in the first go. People were not that excited to use these partitions while working as it offers them very little space to work.

Love for Cubicles Arises!

Surprisingly, after the epic fails of part one, Herman Miller introduced chapter two related to office cubicles, which were easy to install and way too cheap than the first one. At this point, the adjustable desk was considered as the affordable “workspace solution.” It supported the modular desk system, mainly designed by keeping in mind the work of the middle management folks. It was perfect for dealing with the problem of arranging people into smaller spaces. On the other hand, windowed offices were still the first choice for people in upper-level management.

Growth of Cubicles!

With the modifications in the cubicle’s design and features, there can be seen a positive vibe to the use of the same. The concept of fitting more workers in a small room without hampering their overall work was becoming popular day by day. Plus, these cubicles were equipped with all the facilities that an employee needs while working. Within a few decades, cubicles became a familiar name among the managers across America.

In the hope of stimulating business spending, the Treasury Department announced new rules for depreciating office furniture. At the start of the 80s, the cubicle was still counted as an attractive option that structured the employees shuffling around office buildings. Till today, the concept is in trend. All you need is to buy good quality furnishings, and that you can do easily by purchasing furniture in Manila.

The Decline

In the 90s, cubicle again faced criticism. The main reason behind this was the high use of an open office approach by the world’s most powerful company, Google. The architect of Google designed the headquarters in a new way. Their motive was to give freedom to employees while working, resulting in effective communication and better collaboration. But that does not mean that this system has no disadvantage. Workers engaged in an open office environment often complain about a lack of privacy and continuous noise during work. Moreover, when you are in the office and engaged in sending emails, messaging, and completing tasks, how can one think of having effective communication among employees!

Final Words

Summing up, the cubicle covers an extraordinary journey of continuous ups and downs since its introduction. Yes, the concept undergoes many pros and cons, but it can be managed through proper planning and discussions between employers and employees.

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