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Why Cubicles Cause Low Productivity in the Workplace

Updated on November 16, 2014
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.


Cubicle Madness!

People who have real offices at work need to count their blessings. You can close your doors if you don't want to be disturbed; you can put up a name plate so others will know just whose office it is; you can lock your office door. You can leave personal items on your desk without fear of someone stealing from you. Companies that provide a true office for employees know the value of productivity. They know the value of people having their "own" space to work in. The ability to have privacy and work in peace is wonderful. Now let's get to the titty gritty of why cubicles suck and cause low productivity!

Conversations & Laughter

1. You can hear other people's conversations and laughter. It's hard to concentrate on a project when you can hear other people around you talking and laughing. What knocks me out is when other people hold their conversations in front of your cubicle - DUH! Keep it movin'! Don't let someone have their radio up too loud; that's even more annoying. If you must work in a cubicle, try to get an end unit; at least you won't be between two conversations - one on either side of you.

WOW! A cubicle door - who knew?


No Doors

2. People have nowhere to knock to come into a cubicle; they just walk on in. Doors can be closed or partially closed letting others know not to disturb you. You can put a sign on a door asking people not to disturb you. With doors come hooks on the other side of them where you can hang your coat, jacket, or umbrella. In a cubicle you have to hang your coat on the back of your chair or hope there is a coat rack somewhere. Or better yet, you could end up with a glass door for your cubicle. LOL!

Security Reasons

3. When working in a cubicle you are less likely to leave out any personal items. Yes, you can lock any overhead or under mounted cabinets, but it's not the same as being able to close and lock your office for the night.

Unwelcome Visitors

4. Cubicles are an invitation for unwelcome employees or what I call excessive visiting by "cube" employees. People either peek their heads over the cubicle or just come around the corner. Excessive visiting hinders the work process.


6. Germs do float around an open office. You can catch a cold or flu easier when in a cubicle environment. When you're out sick because someone who was sick, decided to "visit" you, and you caught their cold which causes you to stay home, then that's lost time from work. When you return to work from being sick at home, you have to play catch up.

Annoying Cubicle Neighbor

Business and Personal Phone Calls

5. You might as well forget about keeping personal phone calls private - everyone and their grandmother can hear you. If you want to make a personal call you may want to go outside the building or in the bathroom. What a person hears from a personal phone call can create gossip in "cubicle city." When people are going from cubicle to cubicle gossiping, what work gets done? Very little of it, causing some employees to work overtime to catch up - all because they were running their mouths unnecessarily.

Contracting Space

7. Cubicles are spaces that can expand or contract. If a company wants to squeeze more employees into a space all they have to do is to rearrange a cubicle and now it's a cubicle for two. People don't like to feel over-crowded, and especially at work. The tighter your work area, the less likely you want to be in that space, so it would behoove employees to hurry up and get something done so they won't have to be in that space long. A tight space could be the reason for so much cubicle visitation.

Glass or Plastic?

8. Glass or plastic? What type of cubicle would you like? With an all glass cubicle, people don't have to wonder if you're home or not. A glass cubicle is an open invitation to disturb you. A taupe hard plastic cubicle keeps employees wonder if you're there or not.

Oh! How I miss a REAL office with a REAL door - see the hinges.


Cubicle City - yes or no?

Do you work in a cubicle?

See results

© 2014 Donna Kristine


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    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I am working on becoming a freelance contractor.

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 3 years ago

      Another reason to be freelance contractor and/or work from your office at home!

      Interesting hub and something think about.


    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I know, isn't that something - employers just don't get it. My productivity soared when I had an office as well.

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 3 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      When I worked a day job and was moved from a cubicle to my own office my productivity and attitude rose dramatically. Although I work from home with my freelance business, I still keep an office with a door. Working from the sofa or kitchen table is just like working in a cubicle environment.