Are cubicles making a comeback?

In April, we converted from a single tenant with 2 private offices to a coworking space. We’re now a small operator with one private office and 6 open desks. – I wonder if this is a good arrangement going forward.

We seem to be attracting post 40 yr olds who come from environments of cubes and offices. I wonder if we should consider a “hybrid” set up – 3/4 cubicles and 4 open desks. I realize that this will eliminate our “open” feel and potential meeting space.

I seek advice…and quickly as we have very little activity.

I’m curious about this too! We have a very similar demographic, and we lose a lot of people who tour because of all the open space. I’ve been reluctant to pull the trigger, but I wonder if a divided off corner in our space would be appealing to some. Anyone have experience with this?

Recently had the same issue. The feedback I got was that people like the open feel, but ultimately would like a tiny bit more privacy and pin up space (we cater to architects, engineers, etc, who like to pin their work up.)

Ultimately what we decided was to get desk dividers that don’t go all the way up to keep the open concept feel but provide some privacy and allow for some personal pin up space. People seem pleased with the proposal.

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I’m with you that it is overly simplistic to just go with “Cubes bad! Open Good!” although we won’t be able to go much deeper by throwing around “design rules”. My wife Kate and I have visited many spaces and we’ve seen many variations on these themes. Few cubes, but many things that get very close. When we get hired by spaces to dive in to questions like this we start by getting to know everyone. First and foremost, the people are the real driver, not the furniture, so you need to understand what they are asking for… even if you can’t trust the words they are using.

The pendulum in office design starts by trying to reduce distractions so everyone gets put in boxes. Then everyone is lonely so the walls come down and the space opens up… wash, rinse, repeat. To break free of this cycle you need to strike the right balance by looking at the best and worst of both scenarios. Design is more than furniture and paint colors.

The best way I’ve found to combine these two high-level points is to be present, pick a direction, and fine-tune the solution together with the members in the space. I know it might sound like a non-answer but it’s the only way I know that actually addresses the real elements at play here. I’m happy to talk more about how to facilitate things like this although I think that’s a topic for another thread.

Love it. We are considering dividers too. Good to hear that it went over well!

can you share an image? how high are your dividers? do they wrap the desk from the floor up? we still have cubes (in storage) about 6ft high and wrap around with cabinets, etc. and wondering about putting 2 up to give people a sense of what can be

The best space design comes from having a mix of spaces that members can use. Private space for when they need it but open and less formal work spaces the rest of the time. Private office members might choose to work at a kitchen harvest table for example. Hot desk members are typically more casual I find and their expectations are not for privacy but rather one step up from a coffee shop. break-out rooms, couches / lounges and of course meeting rooms and phone booths (preferably not the WeWork formaldehyde type :slight_smile: . That said not all coworking spaces have the space capacity for this kind of variety so having a mix of dedicated desks with 18"-22" acoustic dividers and others without can give members the privacy level they are seeking.

In our space in particular, we’ve found we underestimated the demand for private offices, however I would not change the mix in retrospect as our current mix yeilds the best financial outcome. What I am hoping to do is expand our space next door at some point to add more offices.

Two years ago when I first launch my coworking space with a small financing plan ina rural like area. I had a mix of open space and cubicle for more privacy. But, after a while I had many request for a private office (full wall and door with key). The open space was mostly full but not the cubicle that is half height separation. So after a year, I had end up with a complete coworking space remodeling with private office. Now I’m full for several months in advance with higher fees than open space or cubicles (no cubicle today). People are coming eevery week and are in the waiting list compare to my opopen space desk that is mostly empty and have a cheaper fee. Unfortunaly, I have no more enough spsace to extend and can’t really open a new place because of the very high cost of renting and other fees. Bu t next year I plan to upgrade my space for a luxury & cozy space with higher membership fees that will lower the demand for a working desk with more value and higher price. Like a four star coworking space. You really must listen to your customers or demand and take action. My case may not be your case.

We have found that members still desire privacy and would prefer to pay for a space where they can close the door when they need to. Due to our limited space we are now moving towards Desk Forts for our members.