So here you are with the task of space-planning cubicles in an office. There are many things to consider and plan for in an office environment. In this article, we are going to focus on how to plan out your cubicles. There are a few simple steps that you can follow to optimize your office and maximize your efficiency. Below, we will describe how to define the following: cubicle count, cubicle privacy, cubicle storage, cubicle size, office dimensions, and ultimately, the optimal cubicle layout for your office.
Step 1 – Employee & cubicle count: How many employees do you need to fit in your space? How many would you choose to employ if given plenty of space and an unlimited furniture budget? Keep the answers to these questions in mind when going through the next few steps. While going through this exercise, make sure to plan for growth. If you plan for this now, expansion only requires slight cubicle modifications. If you don’t, you may be forced to do a complete cubicle overhaul when you need to expand. This process will help establish a foundational plan.
Step 2 – Privacy/cubicle panel height: How much privacy do your employees need to successfully accomplish their daily tasks? This is an important question that is constantly asked in our industry. It will pay off to think this through and debate the pros and cons of each option. We are seeing a general gravitation toward a more open environment in call centers and conventional offices. However, it still is a decision that depends on your company, office culture, and functionality requirements. When thinking about your space, think about how much privacy your employees need. If they require standing-height privacy due to high noise levels or confidentiality, you will want to go with a panel at least 67″ tall. If you want your employees to have an office cubicle environment that fosters collaboration and visual openness, you may want a 39″-high cubicle. For an option that will provide seated privacy but give a standing-height, open feel to the office, you may want to consider the 53” option. This is a key decision that defines how a space feels and how your employees interact in their everyday work environment. Be sure to think your privacy needs through when planning your space.
Step 3 – Cubicle Storage: How much storage do your employees need? Cubicle storage is usually broken down into the following categories: file pedestals, overhead bins, and shelves. A storage or file pedestal is located underneath the cubicle work surface and serves as both a support structure for the work surface as well as a place to store office supplies and hanging files. Note that you do not want to crowd the leg area underneath the desk with file pedestals; be sure to leave enough room for comfort. The next storage option is an overhead bin. This is a panel-mounted compartment that closes to hide its contents from sight. This provides a nice way to improve the overall look of the office by allowing clutter to be easily hidden. Overhead bins are only available on cubicle panels at least 62” tall. Putting an overhead bin on short cubicle panels will result in loss of functionality of the work surface underneath the bin. Shelves are another storage option available on the 53″-high and 67″-high panels. When planning your office cubicle storage needs, think about how much your employees are using now and how much they will need in the future.
Step 4 – Defining your optimal cubicle size: This will be based on the amount of space you have in your room as well as your desired employee count. You may need to be a bit flexible on the cubicle size in order to achieve an optimal cubicle plan. Typically a 2’x3’ to 2’x5’ cubicle is used for telemarketing cubicles or call center cubicles. A 6’x6’ to 7’x7’ cubicle is often used for administration or sales personnel, and managerial cubicles are typically 7’x8’ to 8’x8’ or larger.
Step 5 – Measuring you office: You will need graph paper and a measuring tape for this exercise. Start by drawing your room along with the architectural elements, such as doorways, columns, electrical and data outlets and other things that will affect where the cubicles can be placed. Once you have completed your sketch, measure and label your room drawing. You can use simple graph paper to do this exercise, but using a computer program such as Microsoft Visio can make your job a lot easier.
Step 6 – Space planning: Now that you have determined your desired cubicle count, cubicle panel height, storage requirements and room dimensions, you can get started planning your office layout. With your office drawing in hand, begin to lay out your desired cubicles in different ways that allow for the desired quantity and size. Make sure to allow enough space between cubicles for walkways. You may want to reference your local building code to confirm that your aisles meet the code requirements (usually leaving 36” – 42” will be enough space). Also, remember to consider where electrical and data wiring enter the room. A small amount of planning up front will save a considerable amount of electrical work and fees down the road.