Is time up for the office cubicle?




The office cubicle was invented in the United States around 50 years ago and office designers across the pond are still very fond of the idea of putting office workers into cubicles.

We’ve just read a very interesting article in by James McLachlan in which he sheds light on the American office furniture industries’ new enthusiasm for collaborative working which, somewhat surprisingly, is starting with office desks.

As we know, collaborative working is THE office design trend of the moment.  Office furniture companies have responded to this trend by producing a range of different options, designed for the most part to be variations on the office cubicle.  Office ‘pods’, for example, are now ten-a-penny.

The office desk has been largely overlooked in our quest to work collaboratively but if the latest trends from the US are a sign of things to come, it looks as though desks could become central to collaborative office design.

European office furniture companies have been producing furniture designed to encourage collaborative working for some time, whilst the US has clung onto the idea of small, cubicle-style offices.  However, office furniture designers in America are taking a fresh look at the office desk, with idea of creating desks designed to encourage collaborative working and it’ll be very interesting to see what they come up with.

James McLachlan’s article quotes Andrew Duncomb, Herman Miller’s head of marketing for EMEA, who says: “People are working in spaces that were designed 15 years ago.  The nature of work has changed significantly in that time and the physical office cannot keep pace with the rate of change.  People were choosing to work pretty much anywhere except the office.”

If you would like to read the article in full, please visit



Posted September 24, 2014

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