Pros and Cons of Cubicle Walls: Are They Worth It?
Published May 26, 2023
Cubicle walls have long been a staple in office design. It offers a high level of privacy and organization, especially in shared workspaces. It’s most useful if the employees prefer having their personal space.
But amidst its advantages, it is by no means a one-size-fits-all solution for offices. Like most options, it has some cons and can sometimes be a hindrance, hence why it’s always been a topic of debate.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of cubicle walls.
Pros of Cubicle Walls
#1. Private Spaces
It should go without saying, but cubicle walls are best known for the privacy factor it adds to every office.
Cubicle walls divide the entire room into smaller rooms or individual spaces. Each space is free, or at least protected to a certain degree, from outside noise or distractions, hence the privacy and silence.
With these two factors, office workers can more easily focus or concentrate on what they’re doing.
But this advantage is much more impactful than you may initially think.
A study from the University of California, Irvine found that privacy workers with access to private offices had much higher productivity than when they didn’t.
Another study by the University of Sydney found that silence promotes and amplifies problem-solving and creativity. Put simply, those in a quiet environment were able to come up with more creative solutions.
So, the privacy that cubicle walls offer extends beyond just privacy. It also involves productivity.
Office rooms are customizable; that much is known. You can change the decor, arrange them according to what you think would be aesthetically pleasing, or paint the walls a specific color.
The problem is not all your coworkers will like your design choices or ideas. After all, everyone has different artistic tastes, and among your coworkers, at least one is bound to have the opposite of yours.
Cubicle walls are an excellent solution to this problem.
Since it provides each office worker with their individual spaces, they’re given the option to customize their own “rooms,” so to speak. As a result, no one would complain about the cubicle decor of the other.
#3. Organized Spaces
Another problem that’s quite prevalent among offices is the lack of organization. Paperwork lying around, office supplies that should be in their containers, and workers mixing up their phones with those of others.
Cubicle walls, again, solve this problem by giving accountability to every office worker.
Since they’re now responsible for their own mess, and it can clearly be seen by others, each worker will be more likely to clean up after themselves. This then results in a tidy and neat workspace.
Again, this extends beyond just organization.
According to a study by the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, cluttered spaces can lead to stress. So, by extension, organized space in a working environment should lead to lower stress levels.
Another study from Harvard Business Review shows that people in organized environments tend to make better decisions and become more productive.
If you decide to go for cubicle walls, you’ll likely have to purchase and install cubicle partitions.
Interestingly enough, though, the total expense for setting up a cubicle-based office is much lower than the traditional office construction. That’s mostly because cubicle walls are made of affordable materials.
Examples of these materials include
To put it into perspective, traditional office construction requires materials like drywall, brick, or wood, all of which are generally more expensive.
In addition, cubicle partitions are modular or prefabricated.
That means the installation team would simply slap them on top of the office, and they’re pretty much installed. Of course, there are other steps involved, but there’s usually much less labor involved.
As such, you can expect lower overall labor costs, thereby reducing the expense even further.
As stated earlier, cubicle walls are modular. That means they’re pretty much like a Lego set, where you can choose from different designs, colors, or materials. In short, it offers a high level of versatility.
In addition, like Lego sets, after their installation, you can very easily reconfigure or move them, though, of course, it would still require an installation team.
Needless to say, cubicle walls offer a ton of advantages to workspaces, but it’s not without disadvantages.
Cons of Cubicle Walls
#1. Lack of Collaboration
The opposite of privacy is collaboration, so it makes sense the cubicle walls, a design known for the privacy it provides, are also known for inhibiting collaboration.
More specifically, when office workers have their individual spaces, they may be less motivated to collaborate with one another. That can be quite a disadvantage to teams that rely on collaboration.
#2. Limited Natural Light
The cubicle walls will most certainly block natural light to some degree.
Granted, some partitions may still enjoy it, but those in the center will likely receive little to no natural light. And if you know a thing about its benefits, you’d know what office workers would be missing out on.
#3. Takes More Space
For a cubicle-based office to work, the office must be large enough to accommodate the partitions. If you have a small office, then not only will cubicle walls be disadvantages, they would outright be unviable.
Even if you do insist on installing cubicle walls despite the small size of your office, you likely won’t be able to enjoy its benefits. For instance, you cannot customize each partition since there’s limited space.
With these disadvantages, hopefully, you’re now aware of the limits that this option can impose.
The Bottom Line: Cubicle Walls Pros and Cons
At the end of the day, there’s no real answer to whether cubicle walls are worth your investment or not. It ultimately depends not only on your budget and office size but also on the preferences of your coworkers. So, rather than making the decision by yourself, it’s best to seek their opinions as well.
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About The Author
Lenard Arceo is an experienced writer who enjoys learning to coding as a hobby. He has spent many years blogging about a vast array of topics and has helped many reputable websites grow their audience over the years.