It can be a struggle to get a properly sized cubicle for your workstation. Some days, you may wish Goldilocks, with her “just-right” mentality, was your manager.
Cubicle sizes and dimensions play an essential role in creating an optimal work environment for all employees. Small changes in panel heights or desk dimensions have a tremendous impact on your colleagues’ ability to get their work done quickly, conveniently and creatively. Those same cubicle measurements and designs themselves have evolved dramatically over the years, meaning workstations ordered less than a decade ago may no longer be serving their purpose.
Have confidence in your cubicle layout with these tips and considerations for selecting the best cubicles for your workplace.
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The mid-century furniture manufacturing firm of Herman Miller introduced the first cubicles to offices in the 1960s.
In the spirit of the era, designer Robert Propst wanted to reinvigorate workplaces with a counter-cultural workstation fitting the times. Propst was dissatisfied with the traditional post-war office setup he saw everywhere, characterized by rows of heavy metallic desks, stiff wooden chairs and shoulder-to-shoulder employees hunched over loud typewriters. He surmised this exposed, identical layout not only reduced employees’ energy — it made them grouchy, unhappy and unfulfilled, too.
In 1968, Herman Miller decided to start selling individual action office components, rather than only full kits.
Financially, the change was a hit. Organizations quickly adopted furniture like the acoustic partitions that absorbed noise pollution and fostered worker concentration. However, it quickly became apparent that was all they were willing to adopt. Businesses eschewed many of AO2’s other revolutionary features, particularly the non-linear, multi-sized workstation groupings Propst championed.
Many of us know the results. By the mid-1980s, office floor plan designs became synonymous with row after row of mind-numbing, gray cubicles stuffing more and more employees into small and smaller square footage — the complete opposite of Propst’s intention.
Luckily, the contemporary cubicle resembles Propst’s original design far more than its corporate interpretation.
Today’s standard cubicles have become more flexible, multi-functional, aesthetic and ergonomically minded than ever. These furnishings come in more sizes, shapes, dimensions and detailing, with many of today’s office workstations containing:
What is the average size of an office cubicle? As you’ll learn in this article, there is no one correct answer to this question. Cubicle manufacturers typically classify different types by measurements and dimensions.
Consider the major kinds of cubicles and office workstation dimensions below, as well as what type of work each workstation best supports.
Standard cubicles are the prototype, partially enclosed desks many picture filling offices today. These workstations offer one of the most versatile and customizable office layouts available, making them a ubiquitous choice across work environments.
Exact standard cubicle size will vary. Overwhelmingly, though, the average office cubicle will come in one of three dimensions:
These average office cubicle sizes accommodate the range of furniture necessary for a prepared and high-functioning employee. Think a desktop with two monitors and a full keyboard spread, personal filing cabinets, cordless phone systems, shelving and even bonus accessories like footrests or extra chairs.
Standard office cubicles typically contain a matching work surface or desk, either I-shaped or U-shaped. Each accommodates a solo worker to sit comfortably within. This cubicle type also contains the signature choice between high or low panels, letting office planners pick a partition that will balance natural light carriage and colleague camaraderie with sound reduction and privacy. Some standard sizes of office cubicles even come with adjustable partitions for true employee convenience.
Call center-style cubicles, also known as “telemarketing cubicles,” are the ideal furniture choice for a company that prefers a smaller, personalized footprint. Call center cubicle sizes come in three main configurations:
This workstation type differs from other designs in a few key details. The unit features the most compact dimensions of nearly any cubicle variety, making them the perfect choice to fit into irregular office stretches. Call center cubicles feature a central desk tucked within three surrounding panel frames, available in standard, tall and extra-tall heights for bonus privacy. It’s possible to arrange these workstations linearly, similar to study booths in libraries, with ample legroom and a sturdy attached work surface.
As the name suggests, modular packs are identically sized, multi-cubicle configurations joined to create unique workplace groupings.
This style of cubicle still contains individual desks surrounded by partitions for privacy and noise reduction. However, each desk connects with the others in its pod, creating unique, often circular shapes within your office floor plan that break from the linear-row convention.
Modular pack cubicles are available in several popular multi-desk configurations, including:
Offices with modular packs benefit from the innate closeness and camaraderie this style cultivates. At the same time, employees still receive a dedicated workspace to form productive routines and personalize to their tastes.
Booth or executive-style cubicles are the most spacious style available for office floor plans.
These enclosed units, designed to replicate private offices, offer a creative alternative to permanent rooms built during construction or office renovations. As such, they’re a fraction of the price without sacrificing any of the amenities. Options include:
Organizations select booth-style cubicles with private doors to serve as offices for upper management and executives. However, they’re also a great choice for employees working in departments where privacy is crucial, such as in compliance offices or customer service support reviewing financial or medical information.
Custom cubicles allow organizations to select the exact size, height and dimensional footprint of their workstations. With build-a-cubicle tools on supplier or manufacturers’ sites, your business gets the exact office cubicle size requirements you need. You can also add panel colors to match your current brand aesthetics, as well as consider the full range of cubicle accessories and bonus workspace furniture, creating your ultimate office vision.
Office managers will often select office cubicle heights and sizes to fit the roles and privacy needs of various employees.
When we break it down further, we can categorize proper cubicle sizes for your office according to two key details: dimensions and panel heights. Let’s explore both these cubicle characteristics below so you can better understand which size is right for your workplace.
A cubicle’s dimensions dictate how many square feet the unit takes up once assembled.
At Arnold’s Office Furniture, we carry a diverse lineup of cubicles in a range of dimensions. This extensive list of cubicle measurements ensures every customer gets the premier workstation they want at a price and size that makes sense for its layout — not generic furniture with cookie-cutter shapes and measurements.
Cubicle panel heights are the key feature balancing privacy with interpersonal connectivity. We supply cubicle paneling in three sizes, plus a unique fourth tier made for private booth-style cubicles with doors.
Consult our reference page for more information about cubicle panel heights and sizes.
Consider these factors when designing your office’s layout to ensure you pick the correct cubicle size for your talented employees to get their best work done.
Every workplace comes with a unique culture, or “personality,” displayed through office aesthetics. Some organizations aim to be upbeat and irreverent, shirking old-fashioned workplace dress codes, hours and decorum. Others have a legacy passed on from previous generations, or a professional environment they must foster for appropriate industry authority and customer confidence.
What are your brand attributes or brand values? Do your current workstations support those descriptions? For example, an office that says it values collaboration, but has only high-paneled cubicles and no shared modular units, does not support the environment it claims to.
Various departments manage different tasks and workloads. Those workloads themselves require versatile office layouts, equipment and technology to get the job done quickly and conveniently. Plus, some teams will naturally be smaller or larger than others. Assigning everyone the same-sized cubicle is a surefire way to make the office look boring and neglected.
Review the noise levels and acoustics in your current space. Where do the loudest conversations or most distracting noises occur? These areas will benefit the most from high-panel cubicles made from thick fabric materials, whereas less chatty zones can contain smaller and lower cubicles.
For example, employees stationed near the break room must manage a near-constant stream of chit chat wafting through their work zone. Likewise, customer support agents might spend the majority of their shift talking on the phone. These conversations are vital, but they disrupt the accounting and HR team just a few desks away, who are trying desperately to read or write essential reports.
Organizing workstations into work-relevant clusters means colleagues can work together quickly and conveniently. No more cramming each other’s inboxes with meeting requests, constant calendar updates or distracting desk drop-bys. Co-workers have clear access to the most relevant people across their day-to-day work. Employees can also easily discern other department contacts and subject matter experts based on the clustering capabilities of its office cubicles, connecting the dots into a hyper-organized office layout.
Health-conscious employees might be all over today’s standing desk craze. Others may prefer to put their full attention on their work and prefer the familiarity of sitting and typing.
Regardless of colleague habits, your selected cubicles must pair with office desk designs aiding their productivity, not hindering it. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to ideal work surfaces. It’s best to select properly sized cubicles that can accommodate standing, sitting and hybrid work stations.
The majority of cubicles will hold ample space to include standard and add-on storage. Employees benefit from having access to personal files and wardrobe cabinets dedicated only to them, improving document safety and organization. Plus, medium and high partitions introduce the ability for custom overhead shelving.
Ensure the cubicles your employees use have some form of workstation storage. Any new cubicles you’re considering should also include these crucial elements, improving everyone’s work lives.
How confident are you that your employees are satisfied with their current cubicles?
Request a free consultation and quote to get starting maximizing your workstations today. Our dedicated Sunline Cubicle reps can also curate a free floor plan design, ensuring your office maximizes its new furniture and supports the best, most functional layout possible.