Updated: May 25
The cubicle is back--the era of open offices, employees bunched together around one central benching system, seems to be taking its final bow as employers adjust spaces to create social distance between in-office employees. It's a strange world we're living in, and companies are taking the new reality seriously and moving mountains as they consider how space design affects employee safety.
Few companies have the resources to renovate or radically overhaul their office spaces, but most certainly feel the sense of urgency to quickly adapt. Re- opening recommendations combine diligent sanitation strategies and PPE, AND thoughtful use of dividers and partitions as part of a comprehensive, employee-focused office plan.
Kirk Arthur, President of Cubicle Network with over 27 years of experience in the ever-changing office furniture industry, predicts companies will move away from open office concepts and implement affordable solutions designed to make employees feel safer: "I like to believe that American companies are resilient and will come back stronger than ever. I think dividers and partitions are going to be part of our path forward."
Michael Boonshoft, spokesperson for Cushman and Wakefield, a company that partners with commercial real estate clients to facilitate post COVID-19 recovery, agrees. Boonshoft says that adding another layer between employees with a rigid partition such as glass, plexi glass, or any other rigid surface material will help employees feel safer (qtd in Knight). Boonshoft predicts many companies will select plexi glass as an affordable, shield/divider solution. "... these are quick and inexpensive ideas to implement", Boonshoft says of adding these kinds of dividers.
So if your company is searching for affordable, social distancing-compliant office solutions, a protection screen of plexi glass or glass dividers can be easily mounted to the tops of work surfaces or to the tops of cubicle panels. Plexi glass and glass are both easy to source locally, so many businesses only need a clamp to attach a rigid divider to existing stations or surfaces. Clamps are available via CubicleParts.com for a unit price of about $17.50 per unit (sold in pairs of 2).
These clamps are offered in 4 colorways and are available here. If you'd like to check if these clamps will fit your needs, see the image below for detailed specs:
Clamps can be adapted to a variety of rigid surfaces, creating a variety of aesthetic options that can work for your design. While plexi glass is a budget-friendly option, glass also works well and is available in a variety of treatments including clear, smoked, textured, or frosted panels.
Staying agile, while daunting, can be cost effective and doable. Here at Cubicle Network, we think the future is bright for American businesses and their employees. We're here to help you with all your office furniture needs. Let us know how we can help you get on with business.
Knight, Will. "The Cubicle is Back: Blame (or Thank) the Coronavirus." Wired. 30 April 2020.