Cubicle Sharing – The Benefits and Drawbacks

Cubicle Sharing
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One of the best things about running this website is having the opportunity to communicate with others who live in Cubicle Nation on a day-to-day basis. Well, recently I got contacted via my Contact Me page by a fellow cubicle dweller but this was no ordinary Cubicle Nation worker. Her name is Lesley but her working environment is a little bit different than mine in that it involves cubicle sharing.

No, it’s not really what you think, she doesn’t actually sit in a cubicle with another worker right next to her. She actually shares the same work space but they both work on different days. I actually had never heard of this type of cubicle sharing working scenario before so I asked Lesley to expand on her working situation below.

I am a 55 year old woman. My coworker and I share a standard small L-Shaped cubicle…I believe it is 6 ft x 6 ft. I work for a large public hospital. My coworker and I never see each other except for monthly mandatory staff meetings. Our company actually likes us working from home, but in order to keep working from home we have to consistently maintain 110% of our productivity goals.

If not, we get pulled back to working in the office full time and that is a MAJOR motivator. My coworker and I have an arrangement where I use the left side of the cubicle (since I am left-handed) and my coworker uses the right side of the cubicle. We share a laptop docking station and the flat screen on our desk. We have no phone since it’s built into our laptops.

I find it fascinating that 2 people who work on different days share the same cubicle and they actually keep office items on different sides of the desk since one is left-handed and the other is right-handed.

Cubicle Sharing – a Unique Working Scenario

Lesley when she's in the office.
Lesley when she's in the office.
Her coworker when she is in the office.
Her coworker when she is in the office.

So, I thought it would be helpful to ask Lesley a few questions about her working scenario:

Lesley, can you list what you consider the benefits of office-sharing?

The benefits are that both my office mate and I get to work at home half of the time (i.e. in a 2 week 80 hour work period, we each get to work at home for 40 hours and in the office for 40 hours). This is a great savings for us because we each live about 30 miles away from our office.

Can you list what you consider the drawbacks of office-sharing?

Since we share a desk, I used an ergonomic keyboard and roller ball mouse, so I have to put those away when I know my office mate will be in the office the day after I am. We have to share the desk, but we have worked it out that the left side is mine (since I am left handed) and the right side is hers for keeping personal stuff out on the desk surface.

I don’t care for that as I am used to having my own WHOLE desk space, but I have learned to make it work since I have a bigger and better work desk/station at my house. We also have to share an overhead bin where we keep out stash of food and personal supplies, but we have that split up left and right sides also. We have been doing this for 4 months and it is working very well for us…we just always try to be considerate of each other and keep the desk orderly.

Lesley, has this been your job situation since you started working there?

No, I had my own desk up until 4 weeks ago when I earned the right to be able to go home to work. Not everyone gets to go home to work. You have to consistently do 110% productivity or higher for at least 3 months to be considered to be allowed to work at home. Once you start working from home and if your productivity goes below 110%, they have you come back to the office full time.

I make sure that won’t happen to me…my average productivity is 130%….as I love working from home and am MORE productive at home because I don’t have to listen to all the office conversations and drama in a mostly female office setting. I used to be in the Air Force and one of the only females in my work section. I much prefer working with men as you don’t have any drama…we just do our job peacefully without any attitude that I get from all these drama queens I work with.

Is office-sharing one of the biggest advantages of working at your company? In other words, does this benefit keep you working there instead of looking elsewhere?

Yes, office sharing is the biggest advantage to me. I actually transferred to my current department because MOST departments in our hospital DON’T let you work from home. Due to the nature of my department’s workload, it is more advantageous to work at home than in most hospital departments because we don’t actually physically deal with any patients, just insurance companies. I plan to stay in this department as long as I can as long as I enjoy the work I do, which I absolutely love.

I think to be able to office share and work from home, one must have great discipline when working at home due to the possible distractions of your own home. I developed and still possess a lot of discipline, diligence, and initiative from my military career many years ago, and I am very motivated at my job. In fact, I detest housework and cooking :-), so there are really no home distractions for me.

I want to thank Lesley for her honest answers to my questions. If there is anyone else out there who participates in cubicle sharing with another worker I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or use my Contact Me page!

8 thoughts on “Cubicle Sharing – The Benefits and Drawbacks”

  1. Hey..!!!
    In my opinion cubicles are very important for employees of an office as they help in maintaining privacy and secrecy of work.
    Individual spaces allow someone to concentrate better on work and maintain the decor of the office environment but cubicle sharing can led to some problems as well..
    This is indeed a great share buddy..!!!

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I love my cubicle and decorate it and furnish it exactly as I want to. I am fairly sure I would detest an open office environment but some people have to live in such a working world. Luckily these two ladies in this article are not in their jointly-owned cubicle on the same day so it’s actually working out for them.

      Best,
      Bob

  2. Hi
    I share a cubicle with a co-worker. Here are a couple drawbacks of sharing, Our backs are to each other which makes it hard sometimes as our chairs hit. She’s a smoker and I am not, so after her breaks I cough from the smell of the cigarette. A benefit of sharing is if either one of has a question we can just ask and not have to move.
    I want to say Thank you for this article and the emails. I truly enjoy them.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  3. I work in a minning company in Chile. In 7×7 days work. I share the desk whith a coworker who work when i am in my rest days (7 days). Whe share the same notebook, pencils, drawer, etc.

    Greeting from Chile

    Felipe.

    • Hi Felipe! Glad that you dropped by and it looks like you can certainly relate to this Cubicle Sharing article. I truly appreciate your comment and I hope your cubicle sharing relationship with your coworker is a good one and works for both of you!

      I would love to hear about some of your challenges working in this environment.

      Best,
      Bob

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