My cubicle… my cubicle

I’m sittin @ my cubicle, embarkin on my tryst with blogging. I wonder on what to blog about and voila..my thoughts drift into the ever bothering question..atleast to me..”WHY A CUBICLE?”. Where did a cubicle come from? So here I go.. let this be my first blog.


CAUTION: What you are about to read will certainly make interesting reading to people who are absolutely jobless and to others, its their much needed relaxation from the madness of daily life.

Cubicle

A cubicle is a small area set off by walls for special use, such as a place to work, to shower, or with a toilet.

A cubicle, cubicle desk or office cubicle is a partially enclosed workspace, separated from neighboring workspaces by partitions, generally five to six feet high. It is partially or entirely open on one side to allow access. Horizontal work surfaces are usually suspended from the partitions, as is shelving, overhead storage, and other amenities.

Origin

The term cubicle comes from the Latin cubiculum, for bed chamber. It was used in English as early as the 15th century. It eventually came to be used for small chambers of all sorts, and for small rooms or study spaces with partitions which do not reach to the ceiling.

Like the older carrel desk, a cubicle seeks to give a degree of privacy to the user while taking up minimal space in a large or medium sized room. Like the modular desk of the mid-20th century, it is composed of modular elements that can be arranged in various ways with standard hardware or custom fasteners, depending on the design. Installation is generally performed by professionals, although some cubicles allow configuration changes to be performed by users without specific training. Cubicles are highly configurable, allowing for a variety of elements such as work surfaces, overhead bins, drawers, and the like to be installed, depending on the individual user’s needs.

Some sources attribute the introduction of the cubicle desk to the computer chip manufacturer Intel Inc. during the 1960s. Its creation is generally attributed to Robert Propst, a designer from Colorado who worked for Herman Miller Inc., a major manufacturer of office furniture. It was based on a 1965 prototype and named the Action Office, made up of modular units with an open plan, an entirely novel system for the time.

An office filled with cubicles is sometimes called a cube farm. Although humorous, the phrase usually has negative connotations. Cube farms are often found in high-tech companies, but they also crop up in the insurance industry and other service-related fields. Many cube farms were built during the dotcom boom.

Bad planning and cheap approaches

The cubicle desk is a much reviled and often mocked piece of office furniture in large part because of the expectations it invokes but rarely fulfills. An array of cubicle desks gives more peace and quiet to its users than if they were all working in an open office with no partitions, as is the case with many newsrooms and some other kinds of offices. However, promoters of cubicle desks often present them as magic ingredients which can make noise levels and other distractions fall to zero in any office after their installation.

South view of a cubicle

As a result of this, scant attention is paid, most of the time, to the design and correct installation of specially designed baffled ceilings, acoustic floor coverings, staggered corridors and tactically placed enclosed meeting rooms. Without a global approach to all these elements, the cubicle desk offers only a limited form of visual privacy and no sonic protection whatsoever, since traditional suspended ceiling tiles are insufficient to prevent noise conduction in very large office spaces, despite their being sold as “acoustic” tiles. This global approach is lacking in most installations done in large companies or large government bureaucracies.

North view of a cubicle

More recent academic studies have noted the disadvantages that the cubicle desk has brought to American corporate culture. While effectively reducing the amount of noise and distractions in the office environment, the cubicle has also produced a negative effect in the reduced amount of person-to-person communication among office workers. This unexpected result of cubicle installations has led to declines in company-specific corporate cultures, declines in morale, and production delays. Notably, productivity declines due to cubicle desks have become a recent concern in new office designs.

The versatile cubicle walls

On the positive side the cubicle desk offers an occasion for customization by its users which is not comparable to other desk forms, past or present. The secret is that it can transform all of the walls surrounding the white-collar worker into productive work surfaces, or nooks for personal expression. Because all of the walls are within grasp or reach all of the time, and because many of them offer holes and hooks for hanging small shelves, bulletin boards or other accessories, elements which were once placed only on the horizontal surface of the desktop can be moved to the vertical surfaces all around. While the makers of cubicle desks usually employ proprietary standards for their fasteners and accessory hooks, this has not stopped the makers of small-scale desktop accessories from producing and marketing myriads of pen holders, magazine racks, and other items which are made to fit the most popular brands of cubicle desk partitions.

Floor of cubicles

Note that it is also possible to create a cubicle-filled office environment without the use of cubicle desks by combining traditional free-standing desk forms like the pedestal desk with special types of free-standing partitions. This kind of environment is often part of a general office landscaping effort which was popularized in the 1950s and the 1960s in Germany and the United Kingdom.So do I enjoy working in a cubicle?? Well, lemme put it this way.. I wouldn’t mind having my own office space with a view. But yea.. currently where I’m seated.. i’ve got a very good view [;)]

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