Cubicles were/are loathed by so many for so many different reasons it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to discussing them. In contrast office wall partitions have breathed new life into many people’s experience of office work. Ask folks whose companies use wall partitions what they think of them and you’re likely to hear things like “I love them” and “They’re amazing”. Given that both systems aim to organize office spaces more effectively to foster productivity how has one system succeeded where the other failed?
Office Wall Partitions: the Secrets to Their Success
Studies conducted in early 60s indicated that because the amount of information office workers were being asked to process was growing exponentially they needed to be removed from the ‘distraction’ posed by the presence of other workers. Hence cubicles were born and with them, an array of associated problems.
- A sense of isolation – The fact that they aren’t able to see beyond the walls that push in on the sides of their desk causes many cubicle workers to experience a sense of claustrophobia. They often complain of feeling shut off from their co-workers, of being isolated and ‘reporting to jail’ every day.
- Disorientation – Once a worker sinks into his or her cubicle they’re shut off almost entirely from the natural world. No sunlight penetrates into their space and if they don’t have a clock handy it’s impossible to tell what time it was. This disconnection from reality has a negative psychological effect on how workers perceive themselves, their job and the world in general.
- Sounds – Cubicles were invented to isolate workers from one another but what they turned out to be great at was capturing random sounds floating about the office and funneling them into a small space. This type of white noise originating at points unknown creates a more, not less stressful work environment.
Add all of these up and throw in stagnant air and a loss of identity for good measure and you have unhappy workers maxing out their sick days.
The Success of Wall Partitions
The designers of office wall partitions took a more holistic approach to organizing office space; one that recognizes people’s needs while promoting the common business good.
- Handling space – Wall partitions move away from the maze-like quality of cubicle farms. Instead, larger areas are designated that may encompass a team of workers. Individual offices are reduced in number and opened up with glass partitions to allow light to penetrate. Throughout the space air movement is promoted, natural light is brought to bear and the sense of isolation and disconnection eliminated.
- Promoting cross-pollination – Workers are reintroduced to their fellow workers and encouraged by the organization of space to interact productively. Related departments share common space and break areas. By creating ‘mega-cubicles’ where 3 or 4 workers with related jobs share a space communication is improved and unrelated conversations are minimized.
- Cosmetics – Cubicle farms have all the aesthetic appeal of a cell block; with rows of regimented worker cubes lit by hideous neon lights. In contrast office wall partitions utilize a variety of materials and finishes to create visual appeal. By mixing up the size and outward appearance of spaces and allowing for the natural movement of sunlight across the office during the day a more organic and appealing environment is created.
Office wall partitions from IMT Modular create engaging, healthy and productive workspaces that help your company retain its competitive edge. Free your employees from the cubicle farm and release their potential by installing beautiful, versatile, affordable and durable wall partitions today. Call us on 416-743-4513 to find out more.