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How to Choose Office Cubicles for Your Business

image for AVAVA/Shutterstock
AVAVA/Shutterstock

When creating an office space to accommodate your employee's needs, there are numerous factors to consider. Although many employees benefit from an open office plan design, there are still several industries that require the privacy and security that cubicles provide.

It is important to consider what office plan your employees need – whether that be an open office plan, a private office design or a combination of the two. If your employees work with private information or make several phone calls, it may be beneficial to utilize cubicles. While cubicles may not have nearly the same level of prestige as a corner office, they allow employers a practical way to give their employees the level of privacy they need.

If you decide to incorporate cubicles into your office, you will likely need the assistance of a furniture consultant and space planner to design the best layout for your office space. When choosing cubicles today, businesses have quite a variety to pick from. They can vary in size, shape and color. There are also options for low walls to create a semi-open work environment, or high walls to give employees more seclusion.

There are a few key factors to evaluate to help you decide if your office needs cubicles. If you already have employees, it's also a good idea to gather their feedback on what type of work environment they prefer. Some employees work best in an open and collaborative setting, whereas others thrive in their own personal space.

The type of industry your business is in can factor into your workspace design. If your employees need the security to make professional phone calls and research sensitive matters without someone listening in or looking over their shoulder, cubicles can be a great way to divide the office. If your employees work in an industry that requires a quiet setting to focus without distractions, cubicles can offer the privacy they need.

You can also provide a mixed layout that combines an open office plan with cubicles. For example, you could have an open or semi-open office plan for the majority of your employees, and only provide cubicles for departments that require more privacy, like human resources and accounting departments.

Another way to tell if your office needs cubicles is by assessing your current office situation. If you currently have an open office plan and your employees are too noisy and distracted, consider switching to cubicles.

Editor's note: Looking for the right office cubicles for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

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If you are looking for an office cubicle, chances are you'll need more than one. That is why it is important to look at your entire office design to determine what type of cubicles you will need.

  • Space/size: Evaluate how much office space you have and how many employees you need to accommodate. From here, you can determine how much usable space each employee can have in their cubicle. Be sure to account for larger private offices, new hires and team growth you may encounter.
  • Height: Once you know how much space each work station can have, you can shop for office cubicles. Evaluate the optimal cubicle height for each employee to have an adequate amount of privacy they need. Standard cubicle heights range from low (42 inches) to medium (53 inches) to high (66 inches). Lower walls will be more beneficial in creating a semi-open office design, whereas higher walls will create maximum privacy. 
  • Design: Your budget will likely play a role in whether you can buy new, used or refurbished cubicles. If you are considering used or refurbished cubicles, make sure there are enough cubicles in the design you are seeking, so as to avoid having to buy mismatched items. Creating an aesthetically appealing office may not seem important, but it can impact how comfortable your employees are at work, and it can influence the way clients view your brand.

Buying cubicles comes with making the decision of whether you will buy them new, used or refurbished. Determine how many cubicles you need, what style and cubicle design you want, and what your total budget is. Then you can weigh the pros and cons of each option.

New cubicles give you the greatest variety. You can choose from the latest styles and designs, which can be very important if your office space needs to appear trendy for clients. If you need a large quantity of cubicles of the same style and design, you will likely have to buy them new. New cubicles will also likely have warranties, which gives you peace of mind about the quality of the materials. The company you buy from is also likely to have delivery options to bring your new cubicles to your office. 

Although there are many great benefits to buying new cubicles, they can come at a high cost. New cubicles can have a significantly higher price tag, which means buyers with a tighter budget are limited to the lower-end makes and models.

Buying new cubicles may also leave you at the mercy of the company's delivery hours, and since they will likely come deconstructed, you will either have to construct the cubicles yourself or pay for construction.

There are many pros and cons to buying used office furniture, with the most obvious benefit being cost. Used cubicles come at a fraction of the cost of new ones, which can save your business a lot of money. This may be essential if you are working with a tight budget or trying to buy high-end brands at an affordable rate.

Another benefit of buying used cubicles is the ability to get the furniture right away, since sellers are typically trying to part with the furniture as soon as possible. Buying used cubicles is also environmentally conscious. Extending the life of furniture, instead of sending it to the landfill, can send a positive message that your business cares about the environment.

There are downsides to buying used cubicles. The biggest is the quality. Used cubicles often have a lot of wear and tear. If you are considering used furniture, you want to make sure that it isn't too worn.

Another downside of used cubicles is that it can be hard to find the exact quantity that you need. Depending on how many you need, you may be forced to mix and match. Used office furniture rarely comes with a warranty, and it likely won't last as long as new furniture.

An option that can often be overlooked is buying refurbished cubicles. This could be cubicles that have recently been refurbished, or it could mean buying used cubicles and fixing them up yourself.

Adding new filing cabinet shelves or reupholstering the paneling lets you create a fresh look that is unique to your business while also saving money. This is a great option for business owners who find a good deal on used cubicles that need a little bit of work. This option is not always possible though.

If you don't find the right cubicles to refurbish, or the cost of refurbishing adds up to be too expensive, you may have to find another option.

Q: How much do office cubicles cost?

A: The cost of purchasing office cubicles depends on whether you are buying them new, used or refurbished. New cubicles cost an average of $1,000 to $2,000 each but can run up to $10,000 per cubicle for high-end models and brands. However, many companies sell new cubicles at a discounted rate if you buy them in bulk.

If you are buying used or refurbished cubicles, expect to pay about $300 to $800 per cubicle. Keep in mind that you may need to put additional money into fixing up any wear and tear they come with.

Q: How much space does an employee need at a work station?

A: The amount of space each employee needs at a work station depends on their workplace duties. For example, standard cubicles typically range between 6 x 8 feet and 8 x 8 feet, whereas call center cubicles are much smaller, averaging between 2 x 5 feet and 5 x 5 feet.

The height of the cubicle walls will also factor into how much perceived space and privacy an employee has at their work station. High-walled cubicles are often beneficial for employees who needed added privacy. You can also consider using modular offices (high-walled cubicles with doors) to create private offices in your cubicle floor plan.

To help you calculate the amount of office space you need, OfficeFinder created a list of suggested work station allocations based on job description and included an office space calculator for general and specific estimates.

Q: Which is better: a private office or a cubicle?

A: Private offices and cubicles each have their pros and cons. Knowing which is better will depend on factors like your industry, budget, employees and office culture. Private offices offer more prestige and privacy, but they often cost more to accommodate for the space that they will require.

Cubicles, on the other hand, are more open and allow employees to communicate while still maintaining privacy, but they offer less prestige, and it can be challenging to choose a layout that best suits your office. If possible, consider a combination of the two. For example, retain private offices for high-level executives or teams who require the added privacy. 

If you are searching for new or used cubicles for your office space, here are 18 providers to consider:

Arnold's Office Furniture – Arnold's Office Furniture is the sole distributor of the Sunline Sliding Cubicle series. These cubicles can be assembled with no tools by sliding different styles of panels in and out of the anodized aluminum connector posts. The cubicles are available in many size, height, color and finish combinations. The company also offers cubicle accessories, chairs, desks, standing desks, conference tables and reception area furniture. www.arnoldsofficefurniture.com

Clone Cubicles – Clone Cubicles sells cubicles to businesses of all sizes. The company has a range of options that vary in fabric, colors, size and style. In addition to the different cubicle options, Clone Cubicles can design products to meet a business's exact specifications. The cubicles can be professionally installed and come with a limited lifetime warranty. www.clonecubicles.com

Cubicles.com – Cubicles.com sells dozens of new and used cubicles, each varying in size and style. Businesses can choose between modular and Herman Miller-style office cubicles. In addition, Cubicles.com has an "cubicles-in-an-hour" option, which can be assembled in less than 60 minutes. With many options, businesses can choose the color scheme they like best. In addition, the company has space plan consultants who will work with businesses to determine the furniture that will best fit their needs. Cubicles.com also offers filing cabinets, chairs, desks, and conference room and reception area furniture. www.cubicles.com

CubicleDepot – CubicleDepot specializes in used office cubicles. The company offers dozens of options, each varying in size and style. It also has several new cubicles available. The company provides complete cubicle installation, including delivery, setup, and removal of existing office furniture and cubicles. In addition to cubicles, CubicleDepot sells office chairs and desks. www.cubicledepot.com

Cubicle Concepts – Cubicle Concepts offers a large selection of new and used cubicles. Both desking/benching and panel-based systems are available. The company has experience providing cubicles and other office furniture to businesses in a wide range of industries, including commercial new construction and renovation, industrial, financial, tech, food service, automotive, hospitality, government, and healthcare facilities. Customers work with Cubicle Concepts' designers to create a workspace that meets their specific goals and needs. www.cubicleconcepts.com

Cubicle by Design – Cubicle by Design offers a large selection of cubicles that vary in design, style, color, size and configuration, including private and collaborative workstations. The Cubicle by Design website features a design tool that allows you to select from different colors and then choose your configuration, height, and other options. Based on the selections, it will send you 2D and 3D drawings as well as a quote for the project within 24 hours. The company also offers desks, conference tables, office chairs and office storage solutions. https://cubiclebydesign.com

Cubicle Network – Cubicle Network is a full-service company, selling cubicles and parts and performing all services, such as tear-down, installation, and reconfiguration. Based in Texas, the company offers its cubicles nationwide. Cubicle Network offers new, used and remanufactured cubicles. www.cubiclenet.com

Cube Solutions – Cube Solutions offers more than 50 different office cubicles for businesses of all sizes. Each option varies in size, shape and wall heights. In addition to the standard office cubicle, Cube Solutions has call center cubicles and special-purpose workstations. With each option, businesses have their choice of fabrics and finishes. Cube Solutions provides businesses with space design consultants who work with each business to determine the most efficient cubicle layout. Besides cubicles, Cube Solutions sells a full line of office furniture. www.cubesolutions.com

Fastcubes – Fastcubes offers a variety of cubicle configurations, as well as cubes specifically designed for call centers and managers. When using Fastcubes, businesses also have options when it comes to colors and fabrics. Fastcubes offers the ability to add file cabinets, binder bins, task lights, full-height ends, glass or fabric stackers, tack boards, finished ends, and power poles. www.fastcubes.com

Interior Concepts – Interior Concepts' cubicles can be custom designed and manufactured to any length, depth or height. In addition, different connectors allow for an almost infinite variety of configurations. When choosing cubicles, you work with the design team to define your needs. They will then propose some options. Over a web conference, you will see how the furniture and layout will look in your space. You can then make changes and select colors to see a visual of the final design of your furniture solution. In addition to cubicles, Interior Concepts sells call center stations, office desks, office chairs, storage solutions and school furniture. www.interiorconcepts.com

Maxon – Maxon sells new cubicles in two varieties: a prefix panel system and an emerge frame and tile system. Each option varies in size and shape. For each cubicle, businesses can choose from an assortment of fabric colors. Maxon also offers comprehensive space planning and design services. www.maxonfurniture.com

Modern Office – Modern Office sells cubicles, freestanding office panels, office partitions and mobile partitions. With its custom cubicles, businesses can choose from several styles and various laminates, cube sizes, layouts, and matching accessories. With several panel heights and widths available, you can customize cubicles to be as open or private as you wish. Besides cubicles, Modern Office sells desks, chairs, conference tables, reception seating, computer desks, chair mats, bookcases, letter and bulletin boards, and file cabinets. www.modernofficefurniture.com

National Business Furniture – National Business Furniture offers a variety of office cubicle solutions. The company's cubicles and panel systems allow businesses to create workstations as large or as small as needed. NBF has a wide selection of cubicles that vary in size, color and price. The company also offers office desk, chairs, tables, filing solutions and storage solutions. www.nationalbusinessfurniture.com

Office Depot – Office Depot offers businesses a variety of cubicles that come in various styles and sizes. The freestanding modular designs can be assembled in an hour and come with Hansen Cherry desk surfaces. Office Depot also offers cubicle options from Bush Business. Besides cubicles, Office Depot sells a variety of cubicle partitions, cubicle connectors and cubicle shelves. www.officedepot.com

Skutchi Design – Skutchi Designs is a national contract office furniture company that carries its own line of office cubicles, a proprietary interior glass office wall solution that is demountable and easy to install, office desks, reception desks, conference room furniture, and a benching and desking system. The company's cubicles are available as part of the Emerald or Sapphire systems. Both systems allow for height, size and color, and fabric customizations. www.skutchi.com

Staples – Staples sells an array of OFM RiZe cubicles. Each option varies in size and shape. Businesses can choose either gray vinyl panels with cherry work surfaces or beige vinyl panels with maple work surfaces. The cubicles are designed for quick and easy installation, and no tools are required. Staples also sells a wide selection of Bush Business cubicles. In addition to the actual cubicles, Staples offers cubicle wall panels, display panels, desktop privacy panels, cubicle connectors, cubicle shelves and hanging panel accessories. www.staples.com

UsedCubicles.com – UsedCubicles.com has more than 3,000 used and new cubicles in all shapes and sizes that can accommodate any office. UsedCubicles.com carries every major brand, including Herman Miller, Haworth, Steelcase, Knoll, Allsteel and Hon. On its website, UsedCubicles.com has pictures, dimensions and inventory quantity of each cubicle it currently has available. In addition to the used cubicles, there are new cubicles to choose from. To help businesses determine which cubicles will best fit their office, the company provides free space planning consultations. The company also sells call center cubicles, used office desks and office chairs. www.usedcubicles.com

Worthington Direct – Worthington Direct offers more than 10,000 furniture products for schools, churches, daycare facilities and offices. The company offers a wide selection of office cubicle systems from manufacturers like OFM and NDI. The RiZe panel systems from OFM are easy to assemble. All of the available cubicles vary in size and design, with many giving you choices of colors and other materials. www.worthingtondirect.com

Skye Schooley

Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. After receiving a business communication degree from Arizona State University, she spent nearly three years living in four states and backpacking through 16 countries. During her travels, Skye began her blog, which you can find at www.skyeschooley.com. She finally settled down in the northeast, writing for Business.com and Business News Daily. She primarily contributes articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviews remote PC access software and collection agencies.