Office planning

The cartoon Dilbert doesn't like them and even Robert Propst, the inventor (in 1968) of office cubicles, went on to reject his idea in 2000, but there are still sales of $3 billion a year.

by Knowledge@Emory
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

The challenge for office planners is to achieve a balance between privacy and employee interaction, with its claimed benefits for creativity. To their detractors, cubicles are constricting and fail to block out distractions such as noise, which can inhibit the creative process.

But others see them as preventing employees from becoming isolated while allowing interruptions that help creativity.

For employers, they offer a cheaper alternative to individual offices (cubicles can also qualify for faster depreciation).

Common spaces in offices, however, are still seen as important for encouraging interaction, especially those located at the edge of walkways or other well-travelled areas.

Do cubicles help productivity or hurt it?
Knowledge@Emory, 12 April-9 May 2006

Review by Steve Lodge.

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