Is Covid-19 Causing the Return of the Office Cubicle?

Is Covid-19 Causing the Return of the Office Cubicle?

How quickly times and trends can change! It wasn’t too long ago that we wrote about the demise of the office cubicle. Its restrictive and rigid design makes the cubicle somewhat incompatible with contemporary office realities. Covid-19, however, has changed all of that. Because of the pandemic and of social distancing measures, the good old cubicle is making a comeback in office design.

Functional Cubicles Becoming the Norm Once Again

It’s pretty clear that coronavirus has changed the way we work and its effects will linger on long after the pandemic is over.

Many people rediscovered the benefits of a home office and remote work. Now that companies are making a gradual return to normal operations, changes in typical office layouts have to be considered.

Adding cubicles to open spaces is one of the easiest ways to ensure the safety of workers. Quite often, these cubicles or separators are made of clear materials. This way, people can feel like a part of the team without having to be in direct contact with everyone. 

For some businesses, making the switch isn’t easy. They’ve invested significant sums in open office plans that minimise boundaries, encourage flexibility and collaboration between workers. Unfortunately, such flexible designs are the worst ones when it comes to Covid-19 safety.

There’s some silver lining in the story and it comes in the form of versatile products. Dividers are available in all shapes and sizes. They’re crafted from multiple materials. Lightweight and functional, cubicles can be set up and removed as needed. Such temporary solutions maintain the flexibility of the work space and reduce the need for additional, expensive construction work.

Partitions: The Biggest Office Interior Design Trend of 2020

Cubicles and partitions are nothing new. Office cubicles became highly popular in the late 1960s and they dominated the corporate landscape until the 1980s.

Partitions today are a lot more functional and less restrictive than what used to be the norm in the 1970s and 80s.

Plexiglas is often the material of choice for improvised cubicle setups. For a start, Plexiglas is clear and it doesn’t make employees feel isolated. In addition, it offers sufficient protection against the spread of viruses. Plexiglas is also incredibly durable, easy to set up and take apart.

Many companies have also gone ahead to modify the cubicle as per their specifications.

Partitions are much easier to set up than an entire structure that encloses one worker inside. Partitions can be placed on a large desk to create individual spaces or they can be set up between desks to separate one work station from another.

No matter what choice the business makes, partitions are proving themselves to be vitally important for the maintenance of a semblance of normalcy in the corporate world. Many companies have to act fast in order to prevent financial losses. Lightweight and movable partitions provide such opportunities. Not only are they affordable and scalable, these partitions also provide enough of a separation to make employees feel safe in these uncertain times.

The End of Open Plan Office Spaces?

Shared workspaces and open plan designs have pretty much become the norm in the realm of office interior design.

Has Covid-19 put an abrupt end to such trends?

Open spaces are needed by many tech and creative businesses to encourage the exchange of ideas and rapid problem solutions through collaboration. Now that people are being encouraged to maintain optimal hygiene and minimise contacts with others, it seems that open spaces are going to gradually disappear from the map.

Obviously, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Experienced office interior design service providers know how to modify solutions to accommodate for their client’s needs.

Openness of spaces can still be maintained through the use of transparent partitions and dividers. Also, it’s possible to host fewer desks within a shared space. Having some people working remotely while others being present at the office to reduce the number of individuals within the same shift can also help businesses maintain open designs without jeopardising anyone’s health.

What’s likely to happen is the emergence of a hybrid design that takes and uses the best of both worlds.

Old-school isolated cubicles will not make a complete return. Rather, they will be modified to make people feel a part of the team. At the same time, cramped office spaces will be replaced with furniture pieces and accessories that encourage social distancing and keep people a sufficiently large distance away from each other.

Maybe that’s a good trend, giving individuals a bit of personal space while maintaining a culture of collaboration and frequent interactions with co-workers. The need for safety and health partitions will also potentially contribute to the development of new flexible solutions and the exploration of materials that could have been left under-utilised until now.

At the time being, we’re hopeful that the pandemic will reshape office spaces for good. Covid-19 sped up digitisation and tech transformation efforts in order to embrace the remote model. Now, it’s also likely to push for innovative interior design choices that some business owners were a bit scared to introduce prior to the beginning of 2020.

If you own a business and you’re seeking ways to make workplace interactions safer, the time has come to reconsider the interior design choices you’ve made.

Home Guide has decades of experience in the realm of office interior design planning and execution. We always strive to offer innovative solutions that are in line with contemporary realities. Contact us today to learn more and begin your transformative journey.

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