Open Plan Alternatives: Gleaming the Cube

In my last post, I urged office planners to ask their people what kind of environment is best for them. One surprising thing they might hear is that people prefer—gasp!—cubicles. Yes, cubicles.

rejemy tweet

In the hundreds of comments people have written on my various blog posts about office design, a common theme was of people working in open plans who wished they could have their cubicle back.

In fact, I was surprised when an interview I did with Wired regarding my views on office design was boiled down to a statement I made to this regard:

Wired quote

I’ve heard from several people who were incredulous that anyone could prefer a cubicle to an open plan. I believe this attitude may be a kind of extreme reaction to the giant, soulless “cube farm” that some companies employed (and still employ).

The dreaded 'cube farm'

But, an open plan can turn into a landscape just as depressing when applied uniformly to a large space.

The dreaded 'open plan farm'

We can compromise, right? The Library and the Bazaar can coexist. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. And please don’t assume that everyone hates cubicles. It’s no private office, but for many people it beats the hell out of the open plan.