I love the view from my corner office. No, not the sprawling mountains out my window, but what I see when I walk out my door: a sea of cubicles.
There’s nothing as welcoming and conducive to some good, old-fashioned hard work as a nice cube. Companies spend millions of dollars and countless hours creating fancy open floor plans, but the best place for people to work is in the classic cubicle.
Cubicles are the best of both worlds: they provide privacy so that employees can still get work done without being distracted and allow bosses to easily check on their people. I like to know precisely where my employees are and what they’re doing. Cubicles make it easy to keep tabs on my employees.
People claim open floor plans encourage camaraderie, but that sounds like a distraction to me. Employees don’t need to be able to see each other to work well. They need to have their heads down and work. Plus, open offices reduce collaboration. Cubicles encourage it.
And the noise! Open floor plans are so noisy with all the chattering and fidgeting all day. Noise is the most annoying and stressful thing about office environments. Cubicles were actually first created as a way to reduce office noise.
They also keep us safer. People who work in open offices have higher rates of sick leaves. But cubicle walls protect employees from getting sick and having to use their sick days. Employees are your greatest asset–don’t let them get sick, or you’ll be paying for them to sit on the couch at home instead of paying for them to work.
There’s a reason cubicles have been around since 1967–they work! Cubicles help maximize space so you can fit more employees into a bullpen without them getting distracted. Doors are only for managers and people who have earned them! Cubicles are organized and equal, so employees know their place in the company.
When cubicles were first introduced, they received rave reviews from designers and the press. One article even said this: “Seeing these designs, one wonders why office workers have put up with their incompatible, unproductive, uncomfortable environment for so long.”
I agree! Why do we put up with sprawling open floor plans when the best office design has been right in front of us for decades?
Forget the trends and the Instagram-worthy office designs. Those things are distracting and won’t last. The best way to pack in employees and ensure they get work done is to put them in cubicles.
I’ll keep an eye on them through my office window.
-The Outdated Leader
Over the last 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking and working with some of the world’s top leaders. Here are 15 of the best leadership lessons that I learned from the CEOs of organizations like Netflix, Honeywell, Volvo, Best Buy, The Home Depot, and others. I hope they inspire you and give you things you can try in your work and life. Get the PDF here.