History Of The Office Cubicle
The Economist’s recent article on the history of the office cubicle, takes us back to the dawn of the office cubicle farm. It’s interesting to note that the designer of the cubicle or “Action Office 2” as it was called in 1968, Robert Propst, envisioned an active work space with multiple levels for sitting and standing along with walls at 120 degree angles. It wasn’t until the accountants and office designers got involved and figured out a way to line up workers with 90 degree angled office cubicle walls, thus piling more employees into a smaller space, that the cubicle farms began. By the late 1970’s cubicle sales exploded.
Today with the trend toward open office work stations using lower walled cubicles and private office space using higher walled cubicles, it’s a shame Robert Propst isn’t live today to see what he envisioned, perhaps, unfold. The office trends of today include sit-to-stand work stations, office space that encourages movement and open, casual common areas for those impromptu collaborative meetings. Robert Propst would be amazed and relieved that his original office cubicles evolved back into his original designs–after nearly 50 years.