Some employers are thinking, “Why invest in a social distancing cubicle if the pandemic will be under control next year?”
It’s a fair question, but it’s the wrong one to be asking. The real question is, “How can we seize this opportunity to examine privacy, safety and business future-proofing on behalf of our employees?”
This isn’t a question of public health, but this illness won’t be the last one to face in the office. For decades prior, company leadership teams have had to navigate issues of employees feeling pressured to come into work even when they have the flu, a cold, a virus or something else. There are major cracks in the foundation of how we run America’s workplaces. But at least the way we design them has immediate solutions.
If you have been thinking of changing your office furniture for your commercial workspace, but don’t know where to start, choosing the perfect social distancing cubicle can help. After all, this may be the centerpiece of your open office, or the majority of your furniture needs.
Let’s think about your office floor plan and discuss how to choose the perfect social distancing cubicle.
You probably have a cubicle or modern workstation set-up that looks like this:
At first glance, this set up is great for the modern office: you’re optimizing your square footage, encouraging socialization with paired coworkers, offering a touchdown space nearby, and the design is light, fresh and streamlined.
The good news is: it’s easy to add social distancing barriers to current workstations like this (as long as you also create a divider between individuals) or to invest in similar designs that keep the contemporary aesthetic you need in your office.
For example, the modern workstations below had social distancing barrier screens installed to add a height necessary to prevent coughs, sneezes and virus air particles from traveling easily from one desk to the next. The cubicle footprint could also be temporarily increased by spacing employees at every other desk, rather than side by side.
Social Distancing Office Products That Look Good
Let’s take a look at a few different shapes to help you choose the perfect social distancing cubicles. All of these shapes have several features in common: they think “up” when it comes to social distancing and offer additional barrier screens to the top of workstations, they offer flexible options for traditional sitting desks as well as adjustable height desks, and they are easy to keep clean.
The Studio Set (below) is a beautiful example of social distancing cubicles for smaller commercial workspaces. If you have several floors or department teams you need to divide up to avoid that “open office bullpen” vibe, purchasing several sets of cozy configurations like these will work perfectly. Modern office cubicles like these offer a seamless design that includes personal storage and minimalist lines for shelving with variations.
Looking for a “traditional” cubicle that’s updated for today’s style? Below, check out New “Traditional” Cubicles. The familiar rectangle shape and layout, with all the features your employees want in their personal workspace: optional integrated whiteboards, monitor arms, sit-stand desk options, and finishes beyond the 1990s gray wall felt. Notice how the shape allows for a few more square feet for each employee in their personal space than you may have seen in days past. Allowing employees to customize their personal modular workstations with a bit more room to breathe and focus elsewhere from their desk will increase creativity and productivity. The height protects workers who are using their standing desks at full height to speak, cough, and move with ease while shielding those near them.
The Wishbone Design introduces a new era for modern cubicles. You can remove walls without removing privacy and distance. This innovative cubicle design is trending hot right now, featuring flexibility when future-proofing your office design. See below. The work surfaces are available in a variety of finishes, including solid colors and wood grain laminate, while the screen barriers can be opaque, transparent, or installed in a variety of colors to match the brand. This particular design also adds a temporary “scissor” partition between coworkers to offer additional privacy and health safety and can be easily removed whenever you’re ready. Filing cabinets tuck in neatly underneath for personal storage.
Want a social distancing cubicle that helps maximize your square footage? The Curved Workstation Design is the solution. Offering a lean workspace that maximizes every inch, these curved cubicles can fit four, six, eight or more employees at one configuration set. The curved cubicle design allows a natural barrier between employees without the need for light-blocking walls, and additional acrylic screens at the top create the height one needs for safety, focus, and noise. These are acoustic friendly and, set up in parallel sets in an open office, can use acoustic office furniture between them to create the perfect workspace. Freestanding filing cabinets, monitor arms, and smart lighting round out these curves of the future.
Love the curves and want to take it a step further to really give your commercial office a signature style? The Modern Semi-Orbit Cubicles may be a great fit for you. These social distancing cubicles are great to look at, and provide a variety of options for the top divider installations. Imagine solid colors, full opaque, or half opaque-half clear (pictured below). These cubicles also are easy to clean and sanitize, with multiple finishes and textures, and can include whiteboards for each individual workspace as well as fun extras. If your workforce has sit-standing desks throughout the entire office building, make sure to invest in social distancing cubicles with height!
Add Physical Barriers for Personal Space
As you’re deciding which social distancing cubicles are the perfect fit for your company’s needs and style, remember you can always explore lease options for office furniture, or invest in a a new modern office design in two phases: the first is to add physical barriers for personal space, followed by replacing outdated office furniture with new workstations and other pieces. For example, take a look below how an existing space can be improved this season by adding modular partitions.
A social distancing cubicle isn’t just protective against infectious diseases and simply for public health: it’s a way to think about employee privacy, noise and sound barriers, and design in a new way.
Health and Safety With Modern Office Furniture
The best way to implement health and safety practices in your commercial office is to think about social distancing cubicles as just one solution among your post-COVID solutions. Furniture, layouts, schedules, break rooms, airflow, wellness plans, benefits, emergency protocols: it all needs to be addressed. Starting with a smart floor plan and thinking about how to socially distance without sacrificing socialization is an easy point to begin. Your employees will thank you.