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What are Modular Office Cubicles?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Modular furniture is made up of different pieces, or units, that can often be combined in many different ways. Cubicles are small office work spaces that are cube shaped, or square. Modular office cubicles are systems of connected square work spaces. They are especially popular in large offices with many employees. There are many different types of modular office cubicles from basic to deluxe.

Deluxe, or more expensive, modular office cubicles may be padded with tasteful fabric. Less expensive, basic modular cubicle systems may be plain, uncovered metal or laminate. Laminate is a synthetic, tough and often shiny material that's also used for inexpensive kitchen cupboards and wood-looking floors. Laminate and metal modular cubicles can usually be wiped with a damp cloth or sponge to clean, while the padded cloth-covered type of cubicle may be vacuumed.

The padded kinds of office cubicles tend to look the most elegant and can often be used as bulletin boards. Push pins used to hold notes and important work usually can be inserted into the padded fabric walls without leaving marks. Many modular cubicles have solid walls, but some models have narrow windows around the top of each wall to let in more light from ceiling lighting fixtures.

The top of a modular office cubicle is left open; wall heights vary, but the average is about 6 feet (1.8 meters) high. On one side of the cubicle, a doorway space is left open so the worker can enter and exit the work space easily. Cubicles are typically just large enough for one person to work in comfortably.

As modular cubicles are usually in neat rows, they are informally called cube farms. The doorway space of each cubicle opens onto a common walkway or aisle between the rows of office cubicles. Cubicle walls help muffle some office noise and give workers some privacy. Typically, modular office cubicles are furnished with a desk, chair and storage options. A desktop and shelves or drawers are often attached to the inner walls inside each cubicle.

Each cubicle workspace is usually equipped with a computer and telephone. For every group or floor of cubicles, the workers may share a computer printer, fax machine and/or photocopier as well as filing cabinets or other office equipment. Since modular office cubicles basically all look the same, employees who work in them often add individual touches. Framed family photographs, plants and artwork made by workers' children are the most common items added to a cubicle by employees.

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