The cubicle still claims the largest share of office furniture despite decades of bad press from designers and workers alike. Recently, however, organizations have begun to develop economical and productive alternatives. This article provides an historical overview of the rise of the cubicle and the economic reasons behind its success. Among the more than 100 cubicle variants the article touches on Steelcase’s “Personal Harbor” (which can be filled with its own lighting, fan, door and window), Knoll’s A3 or “anticube” (a rounded, podlike structure with privacy provided by translucent mesh) and a June launch of two Herman Miller cockpit-like systems that emphasize color and privacy.
But is this where we’re really heading in office design? This article doesn’t think so. One long-range planner believes that people will develop ways to work outside traditional offices, particularly through the use of home offices and Starbucks. This article notes the successes of companies like Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, the latter of which is expected to benefit from telecommuting by cutting its annual office space expense by $230 million by mid 2007.
Source: Julia Schlosser, Fortune; Mar 20, 2006