The cubicle has been an office mainstay since the late 1970's, as more and more companies embraced the Action Office concept promoted by inventor Robert Propst. The original purpose was to promote efficiency, productivity, and quality but over the years, this promised boost has had the opposite effect. The concept of cubicle customization came later and will be addressed in this article.
Companies have compensated by lowering the height of the cubicle or eliminating them altogether but there has been no single direction of adjustment that seems to correct the situation. That is, until recently.
Over the last several years a new concept has become clear to both employers and employees, that customization of the cubicle workspace is exactly what is needed to allow cubicles to be the highly productive and efficient workspace they were meant to be.
Allowing employees to customize their workspace is not only essential to improving productivity and efficiency but also improving employee morale and job satisfaction, all of which affect the corporate bottom line.
Jacinta Francis, Ph.D. espouses on this concept in a Psychology Today article entitled: Personalizing Workspaces to Enhance Wellbeing. As far as customizing a work space she states in the article:
“If nothing else, I’ve found that funny images, inspirational quotes and photos of loved ones can provide me with a burst of perspective at just the right moment and remind me of the reasons I’m working in the first place.”
In the article she references research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, titled; “My space”: A moderated mediation model of the effect of architectural and experienced privacy and workspace personalization on emotional exhaustion at work” by Lawrence, Fried and Slowik.
This research and the concept of cubicle customization has even come to the attention of the General Services Administration and published as governmental policy in the 2006 position paper, Innovative Workplaces; Benefits and Best Practices.
Within this article innovative workplaces are defined and one line in particular speaks directly to the area of a company typically defined as Cubicle Nation.
“Organizations can no longer ring the outside of a building with private offices, cutting off natural light and views to people sitting inside, and expect them to perform at their best.”
Clearly, allowing the employee access to natural light, outside views, and the ability to customize their workspace improves the overall quality of both the work and the personal life of the employee.
There are three specific areas in which cubicle customization can provide a real world benefit: 1) enhancing a cubicle’s décor or the look and feel of the office, 2) utilizing organizational office accessories to enhance storage in a small footprint, and 3) adding cubicle accessories which, in a utilitarian sense, can make your office more like your home.
Cubicle Decor Enhancements
As far as enhancing a cubicle’s décor is concerned, there are many different items that can be utilized such as customized frames for displaying family pictures or children’s artwork, a cubicle clock, sports paraphernalia representing your favorite teams, the addition of cubicle wallpaper, and even a custom cubicle window.
Cubicle Customization Enhancements
Some specific examples of utilizing organizational office accessories are phone stands, corner shelving, hanging wire baskets for the cubicle walls, desk shelving, wall pockets for file folders, and a cubicle monitor hanger to move your computer monitor off of your desktop and onto your cubicle wall.
Cubicle Utilitarian Enhancements
Cubicle accessories which add a utilitarian element are, for example, a small under-the-desk mini fridge, the addition of an electric mini kettle, or the creation of a coffee and tea corner. All of these examples are meant to be useful or practical in the office environment. They also tend to minimize the sterile office environment and create a homey aspect by adding some accessories that remind the employee of the comforts of home.
It is evident from the research that the creation of innovative workplaces and allowing employees to creatively customize their environments, are key aspects of increased workplace productivity and employee satisfaction. By employing all or some of these enhancements to your own office, you could be well on your way to making your work space a lot more attractive, organized, and practical.
About the Author
Nathan is a relatively recent entrant into the office environment and likes providing cubicle and cubicle customization tips and feedback in order to promote a healthier, efficient working environment. Writing for Morris Furniture, a provider of home office furniture and other rooms of the home, he is able to utilize and see the benefits of higher-quality furniture and decor options.