How Big Should the Cubicles in Your Office Be?

The nationwide shutdowns that marked the early part of 2020 have slowly lifted, allowing more businesses to resume operations, but “business as usual” simply isn’t an option with the threat of COVID-19 lingering.  This has forced companies to rethink how their office settings function.

Before, it was fine to have rows of connected cubicles, or even open office environments devoid of barriers between desks, providing teams with opportunities to collaborate.  Now, everything has changed, and in addition to improving ventilation and increasing cleaning and sanitization, many businesses have to create entirely new layouts for seating, in compliance with social distancing guidelines.

The good news is, you can easily add barriers between workers when you include cubicle walls around desks, in addition to placing them six feet apart.  However, when modifying your floor plans, you’ll also have to consider the size of your cubicles, because of course, the square footage they claim will impact the number of workers you can fit into any given space.  How big should cubicles be?

Economy versus Performance

On the one hand, smaller cubicles allow you to plan a layout that includes more work stations in any given space.  Since you’re already losing space to social distancing, you naturally want to make the most of the space you have left.

Unfortunately, squeezing workers into teeny-tiny cubicles may not provide the best environment for productivity, or safety.  Consider, for example, a small work station with just enough room for essentials like a computer, a phone, and a small filing cabinet.

While it will get the job done, employees will have to leave their desk to use any other equipment (like a printer, for example).  This wastes time over having individual printers at employee desks, but it also creates greater opportunity for virus transmission as employees move through the office and interact with high-touch surfaces (printer buttons/touchscreens).

With larger cubicle and work spaces allotted to each employee, you’ll not only increase productivity and safety, but likely improve employee morale, as opposed to cramming workers into cramped, claustrophobic work stations.

How Big is Big Enough?

The size of cubicle you choose will depend on a couple of factors, including available space, the needs of workers, and whether or not you’re willing to implement measures like A/B scheduling to alleviate the need for your entire staff to be in the building at any given time.  Your best bet is to use modular products that allow you to create cubicles in a variety of sizes and configurations.  A call center employee, for example, might need less space and equipment than a graphic designer.

In addition to carefully considering sizing to suit the needs of specific employees (or types of activities), you should think about the makeup of your cubicles, including colorful paneling, see-though upper panels to preserve light flow, and ergonomic solutions that promote health and morale.  With the right cubicles, you can create an environment conducive to performance and safety when employees return to the office.

 

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