The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of worker orientation in their cubicles on workplace behavior and experience.
Data were collected via written surveys, oral interviews, and workspace observations.
Based on computer location, cubicle occupants in a large corporate office were classified as facing out or facing into the corner of their cubicle. People faced out to enhance communication, to protect the confidentiality of material they were working with, and to avoid being startled. Those facing in did so to reduce distractions and/or physical constraints. The chief disadvantages of facing in were loss of confidentiality and the possibility of being startled by people approaching from the rear. Cubicle occupants whose computers faced out, relative to those facing in, maintained that their spatial orientation had a positive effect on communication and morale within the work unit. Respondents used nonverbal signals to modulate interaction with others, employing seating locations and body positions to reduce likelihood of interruption and used different signals to indicate receptivity to interaction.
A workspace should have the flexibility to meet a wide range of functional and individual requirements.
Workspace orientation has not previously been investigated in this way and important insights were obtained through this study.
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