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How to Create a Cubicle Office Layout

How to Create a Cubicle Office Layout

The Ultimate Guide to a Cubicle Office Layout

A cubicle layout in an office is perfect if privacy, discretion and focus are part of your working culture. But getting this layout right isn’t easy. You need to think about the optimal use of space and office interior design, but you must also consider issues such as communication and collaboration. This guide should help you to perfect a cubicle layout in a closed office.

What is a Cubicle Office?


A cubicle office features a partitioned layout designed to give individuals privacy and a quiet area for focused working. Divided by partitions and/or screens, a closed office gives everyone a dedicated space to minimise office distractions.

Cubicle Office vs Open Office Layout

More and more businesses are opting for an open office layout because it’s conducive to teamwork, collaboration and open communication. There are no dividers, partitions and privacy screens in an open office — just desks and office chairs.

A cubicle office divides the working space into private workspaces. There may still be breakout areas, but the majority of the available space is devoted to private working. An enclosed office is probably the best option for businesses that deal with sensitive information, such as personal finances or medical care.

Advantages of Cubicle Offices

A private office layout with cubicles might require more furniture and forward planning, but get it right, and it can deliver some fantastic benefits.

Increased Privacy for Employees

Sound-absorbing screens and office partitions give employees a little added privacy — perfect for focused working or discreet conversations. Dividing walls tend to be only a few feet tall, so all an employee has to do to talk to a colleague is stand up.

Quiet Space for Fewer Distractions

A busy office environment is usually a hive of activity — creating a cacophony of noise. If you need to speak to a client discreetly or focus on a particularly complex piece of work, the distractions in an open office might make your job a lot more difficult. But the privacy provided by an enclosed office within an office gives you the quiet and stimuli-free space you need to perform.




Interactions are Considerate

When employees sit in close proximity to each other, the temptation to chat or share ideas is strong. But in a cubicle layout, you have to make an effort to stand up or walk around a divider in order to initiate an interaction. Employees forced to do this are far more likely to consider whether or not the interruption is necessary.

Spread of Illness is Lowered

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, retail and catering businesses, in particular, used partitions and screens to stop the spread of the airborne virus. Office partitions in a cubicle layout deliver the same effect — thus greatly reducing the chances of infection. Office space after Covid-19 looks very different than before the pandemic for lots of businesses.

Disadvantages of Cubicle Offices

Of course, many businesses are switching to open office layouts because of the disadvantages associated with cubicle layouts.

Higher Expenses

Most cubicle layout ideas cost more than open-plan ideas. That’s because of the additional office furniture needed — namely partitions and screens. Not only that, these additional items take up space, which might mean you need more office space than might otherwise be the case. And more space always means more rent and higher overall leasing costs.

Office Culture is Less Defined

It’s almost impossible to create an effective office culture when everyone in the space is confined to their own private space. Dividing walls and partitions interrupt the follow and energy of an office, making any attempts at creating a collective culture very difficult indeed.

Supervision is Difficult

An office floor manager works best when they can see everyone from a single vantage point. Unfortunately, a private office layout hides employees away in their own little worlds. To ensure maximum efficiency in the office, the manager would need to walk right up to the employee — and this type of intrusion might seem a little aggressive.

How to Create an Efficient Cubicle Layout

A closed office with a cubicle layout will never be as efficient as an open-plan office. That’s because of the extra furniture needed to create private working spaces. But with some careful planning, you can create a reasonably efficient layout by choosing the right types of desks, chairs, dividers and equipment.



Divide the space into zones: private working, meetings, collaboration, recreation, etc. Try to stick to parallel rows of office cubicles to make the best possible use of the available space. And make sure there’s a flow to the office that makes navigating it quick and easy.

Meeting Rooms for Collaboration

Because you’re making people work in relative isolation, an effective meeting room is essential. Take the time to look for large meeting tables, breakout meeting booths and relatively comfortable office chairs. Because your team works in a closed office, your meetings may be longer and more in-depth when people get the chance to be together.

Social Spaces for Employee Engagement

Choosing a private office layout greatly reduces the opportunities for employee engagement. So the need for comfortable and spacious social spaces becomes more important than ever. Soft sofas and comfortable chairs can create a relaxing atmosphere. The addition of a few tables for coffee cups and food can create a great recreational space in which colleagues can catch up with one another.

Cubicle Furniture

The key to making a private office layout work is choosing the right cubicle furniture. Make the right decisions, and you can get the balance right between privacy and collaboration.

Office Desk

Rectangular and L-shaped corner office desks are perfect for a cubicle office, as they maximise working space while allowing for the addition of privacy screens. Available in a selection of colours, the One Cantilever Crescent Office Desk is ideal for an enclosed office. And because you can choose the orientation of the desk, you can make it fit almost any type of workspace. The rectangular Start Oak Office Desk is a cost-effective option that’s designed to complement a range of divider screens.

Under Desk Storage

The trick to getting a cubicle layout right is to maximise the available space. Exploit any opportunity to turn unused space into storage with a cabinet or desk pedestal — including the dead space underneath desks. The Steel 3-Drawer Under Desk Pedestal comes with wheels for easy transportation, three separate storage spaces and a lock.


Other Storage Solutions

Small, private working areas require compact storage solutions such as filing cabinets and bookcases. A Bisley 2-Drawer Filing Cabinet Contract in Steel can fit in the tightest of spaces, and it provides lockable drawers for sensitive documents. The addition of a Full-Height Locker in the recreation or break area will continue the privacy theme in your private office layout.

Cubicle Office Layout Alternatives

If collaboration and flexible working are more important than privacy in your office, there are better options than the cubicle layout — here are three of the best.

Open Office Plan

An open office plan removes any unnecessary obstructions between desks and desk chairs to create a single shared workspace. This makes everyday communication and collaboration easier, and it encourages the sharing of ideas. This type of office layout is becoming increasingly popular in the creative industries.

Team-Cluster Office Layout

A team-cluster office layout divides the working space into zones dedicated to particular teams or departments. Large rectangle and round tables or clusters of small tables work well in this type of layout. Collaboration and group activities are easier in this type of environment, but the opportunities for privacy and a quiet working area are limited.

Hybrid Office Layout

The hybrid working model blends the best aspects of all the other layouts to create a bespoke area designed for the needs of the business. For example, you might want a team-cluster section in one half of the space and a cubicle layout in the other. This option requires a wide selection of office furniture and a relatively big space. But when it works, it’s possibly the most efficient choice.


What is cubicle etiquette?

Organisations choose the cubicle layout because it guarantees privacy and a quieter environment — but only if everyone observes a few rules. Cubicle etiquette refers to those rules, which include knocking, avoiding the use of speakerphones, not eating smelly food and not shouting over other cubicles to get the attention of a colleague.

Should employees decorate their cubicles?

This is something that should be set out in the organisation’s rules. Working in a private cubicle for several hours can be a lonely experience, so the addition of a few photos of loved ones can actually boost productivity. As long as decorations and desk accessories are modest, in keeping with the overall decor and not of a sensitive nature, a few decorative items shouldn’t be a problem.

What are the advantages of a closed office?

A closed office provides privacy for working on sensitive projects or speaking privately on the phone. Office cubicles also reduce the noise levels and visual distractions in a busy office — helping employees to concentrate.

What is the difference between closed and open offices?

Closed offices include dividers and screens to create a series of private working areas. Open offices aren’t divided in this way, allowing people to communicate freely, collaborate, ask questions and share ideas.


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