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Benching Workstations vs. Cubicles

Benching workstations and cubicle desk side by side

If you’ve ever worked for a startup or seen a major tech company’s offices on TV, you’re probably familiar with the open office layouts in which employees work in rows of benching workstations without any dividers or private offices to isolate them. This is a stark contrast to the rooms full of cubicles more common before the ‘90s—of course, cubicle layouts still have their place in corporate America today.

If you’re deciding between benching workstations and cubicle layouts for your office, consider the benefits of each type of desk.

Benching Workstations
If you are looking to create an open, collaborative office environment, benching workstations are a great option. Since benching workstations do not close employees off from one another, they allow people to work together more easily, encouraging frequent employee communication.

  • Simple Design
    Compared to a traditional cubicle setup, benching workstations have a simple design. They’re right at home in clean, minimalist office aesthetics.
  • Cost-Effective
    The basic design means benching workstations are generally cheaper than cubicle workstations, and you can fit more of them in your office space. If you need to fit numerous employees in one room, benching workstations are an economical way to accommodate all of them.
  • Flexible
    Many seating arrangements are possible with benching workstations. You can have a row of them in a straight line, place two back-to-back (with two employees facing each other), or organize them in an L shape.

Not every business lends itself well to an open office floor plan. If your employees need to work individually for most of the day, investing in cubicles may be the way to go. With built-in walls and private desk and drawer space, cubicles are perfect for employees that need their own personal space to focus.

  • Privacy
    Sometimes there are projects that need to be worked on confidentially, especially if your team shares office space with another company. If this is the case, your employees shouldn’t have to focus any energy on shielding their work from others. Cubicle panels that enclose the desk space give employees more freedom to work independently.
  • Fewer Distractions
    Sometimes coworkers can be distracting. If an employee has an impending deadline or they’re working on a project that cannot be completed without their undivided attention, it’s helpful to have a workspace where they can block out other sights and sounds. Unlike an open office floor plan, where everyone works together throughout the day, a traditional cubicle setup gives employees the opportunity to work alone when they need to, and then seek out help when they choose.
  • Usable Wall Space
    One big advantage cubicles have over benching workstations is the ability to put things up on the walls, like a calendar, whiteboard, or important reminders. Wall space is also a great way to make your workstation feel personalized—you can hang up pictures of family and friends or inspirational quotes to stay motivated throughout the day.

Depending on what kind of office environment you want for your employees, either cubicles or benching workstations could be the right choice for you. Consider your priorities and the ideal desk setup will follow.

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