After 50+ Years of Service, It’s Time to Retire the Cubicle

Cubicles — the workplace standard for at least four generations of diligent employees. Unveiled in 1964 and first utilized by organizations three years later, cubicles offered a way for businesses to maximize real estate while ostensibly giving employees their own spaces. What really happened, though, was that workers began to think of cubicles more as cages rather than cozy dens. And while Dilbert creator Scott Adams gave us all a good laugh at the cubicle farms in the 1980s and 1990s and 60 percent of office workers worked in cubicles as late as 2014, it’s time now more than ever to retire this tired and ill-suited office setup for good.


Worried that the cubicle is getting a bad rap after 50 years? Science has finally confirmed what many suspected: One Oxford Economics research investigation showed how frustrating it was for people to be crammed into tight cubicles, greatly reducing workplace morale. Millennials especially find life in a 6-by-6 square uninviting, hence their desire to telecommute rather than be trapped in a landscape of fabric-covered walls for eight hours a day. And, with 70 percent of workers as of 2016 working outside of cubicles in open floor plans, evidently businesses are starting to realize the need for change.


Make no mistake, though: Taking the place of cubicles shouldn’t just be open floor plans dotted with Scandinavian-style furniture, nor should it be a return to large personal or shared “Mad Men”-esque offices. Simply substituting one static design for another (some employees are already calling for a return to the cubicle in 2018) ignores the larger and more underlying problem affecting today's offices: a lack of activity. Read the full article here.

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