Cubicle farms seemed to be one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. It allowed regular employees to gain a little privacy in their workspace without having to splurge on a full office renovation. However, is that little 8 X 8 workspace really effective at improving productivity?
Research has shown that cubicles can lead to lower productivity. Why? Here are a few reasons:
Less team building – Cubicle walls can make one feel isolated and alone, forgetting that the individual is part of a team.
Longer communication relays – With high cubicle walls, why ask your neighbor or supervisor a direct question when you can spend more time emailing them?
More goofing off – When one is behind cubicle walls, it is more likely that he or she will spend time on the computer visiting Facebook, reading blogs, or buying holiday gifts.
What could be alternatives to cubicles that will encourage productivity and yet keep morale high? Here are some ideas that could fit your small business.
Common area lounge
Many freelancers and small business owners take their work to Starbucks. Why not try this at your workplace? For the cost of cubicle walls and desk, you could invest in a few lounge couches, comfortable chairs, and tables that allow your workers to set up on their laptops.
Acoustical phone pods
Making to taking phone calls is a part of the job. You could add acoustical phone pods to your common area lounge where workers can go to make calls. The acoustical padding and walls will help dampen sound and add privacy.
Certainly, privacy is sometimes needed. However, rather than install cubicle walls you could install curtains around workspaces when your workers need a little privacy.
If you operate a creative type small business, use your creativity to design workspaces that encourage the imaginations of your workers. For instance, Google has pool tables, a drink bar, and other areas that help workers collaborate and create. Pixar uses creative lighting huts and other common areas to spark imagination. Use these ideas and come up with some of your own to bring creativity into your office.