Cubicles: Walls – Modern Office Design and Furniture

The office cubicle was invented and designed in the 1960s. The goals of the office cubicle were to take advantage of vertical space, allow for more density within a floor plan, and provide employees with semi-private offices.

Think of your office cubicle as your office cockpit where everything you need is an arm’s length away; office tools are within reach, helping to make your work flow fluent, efficient, and more productive. Computer monitors are on your desk or on adjustable monitor arms. There are overhead open or closed storage options. Lower fixed or mobile storage pedestals are also available. Your semi-private cockpit is enclosed by multiple panel heights, widths, and surfaces: fabric, laminate, glass, or a combination. Noise reduction helps provide a work environment for concentration.

Office cubicles come in a variety of sizes to fit your floor plan. The most popular cubicle sizes in recent years have been: 6’x6’, 7’x7’, 8’x8’, or a combination of these sizes. Joyce Contract Interiors can help with your design and layout.

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Cubicle system components

Cubicle system components start at the worksurface and can be fixed or height-adjustable. Rectangle and corner 90-degree worksurfaces are the most popular shapes. Below the worksurface, storage options include fixed or mobile pedestals, bookcases, and lateral files. Above the worksurface, options include open shelves, enclosed shelves, flipper doors, task lights, tackboards, and paper-management systems.

Cubicle wall

Cubicle walls come in heights ranging from 32” to 85”. Widths range from 12” to 60” in 6” increments. Thickness ranges from 2” to 2.5”. The typical cubicle wall is made of fabric which covers over a hard surface fiber core or an acoustic fiber core; walls are available as monolithic or segmented. They come in clear or frosted glass, fabric, laminate, marker board, or a combination of these materials, which is a very popular choice. A good sound rating for an acoustical panel is .65 NRC or better and the panel should be UL-approved.

Cubicle storage

Cubicle storage is available in three different options: support storage, hanging storage, and stand-alone storage. Support storage is placed underneath the worksurface and can be a pedestal, lateral file, or bookcase. Support storage offers dual functionality, providing cubicle storage as well as desk support. Hanging storage is generally open shelving, enclosed shelving, and flipper door units. Stand-alone storage is typically lockers, storage units, lateral files, or combination units that are within cubicle walls but not under the worksurface.

Cubicle door

Cubicle doors are generally 67” or 85” high. They can be traditional hinged swinging door, which are hollow-core doors, or a sliding barn-type door made from Lexan. Cubicle door widths are limited to 36” or 48”.

Cubicle Power

Cubicle walls can be powered with receptacles or they can be non-powered. When they are powered, a licensed electrician needs to connect the cubicle walls. Using a non-powered panel, electrical service for the work area would come from the wall or a power source on the floor. Clamp-on power units with USB modules that sit right on the desk are also available.

Cubicle Wall Applications

Cubicle walls are most often used to surround a desk, creating a semi-private workstation. Cubicle walls can be used to divide a room or provide a small break-out area. Spaces like these are becoming popular in the time of COVID-19, as they offer a way to subdivide a room without having to build structural walls. Best of all, these cubicle walls can be disassembled if they are no longer needed, reconfigured, and/or moved to another location at a later date.

Office cubicle - Joyce Contract Interiors
What is the difference between Benching and Cubicles?

As a general overview, cubicles are panel-based workstations that provide the most privacy from other employees; benching has either no or minimal panels and provides an open-style row of desks meant to encourage collaboration.

Cubicles can come in many sizes and configurations depending on the client’s needs. Panels come in 39″, 47″, 53″, 67″, and 85″ heights, comprised of fabric, glass, and whiteboard finishes.

Benching or desking is typically used in smaller workspace configurations and can measure anywhere from 3′ to 7′. If privacy is needed, privacy screens with heights of 8″ to 24″ can be added.

What is a Privacy Screen?

Privacy screens (also known as privacy panels) are used as dividers between workstations to define boundaries and give employees both privacy and improved acoustics. They can come in fabric, lexan glass, laminate, and whiteboard finishes, and are available in many sizes to fit almost any workstation.

What is the difference between a Power Pole and Base Feed?

Power poles and base feeds are both options for bringing power to your workstations. A power pole is generally used in applications where power and data are being brought down from the ceiling. The power pole can connect directly to the work surfaces or panel system you choose. A base feed, on the other hand, is connected to workstations from the floor or the wall.

What are Sit/Stand or Height Adjustable desks?

As more research has been conducted on the effects of sitting for long hours during the work day, it has been found that over-sitting can have significant negative effects on your health.

As a way of combating these negative effects, height adjustable desks have been introduced as a way for people to stand periodically throughout the work day. They can be programmed at different heights if electronic or pneumatic, or they can be hand-cranked to the height you need.

What is standard cubicle size?

6’ by 6’ is the smallest cubicle size recommended.

What is ergonomic office furniture?

Ergonomic furniture is furniture designed and manufactured to work with the human body. There is also passively designed ergonomic furniture which is designed with less controls.

How should you approach office design for the hybrid workforce?

It is dependent on the philosophy of the company and is taken on a case by case basis. Some companies may want employees to return and have their own desk while others may leave more collaboration space for employees who do not come to the office as often. 

Should our office design and furniture be an open layout?

Marketing, sales and creative departments, are typically in a more open and collaborative space 

Finance, HR, engineering, and accounting, are typically behind closed doors or at private work spaces

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