The average prison cell is 6 feet by 8 feet (or at least I read something like that once). Compare that to the the size of a normal work cubicle. I’d venture to say the average cubicle worker spends the majority of their day in a much smaller space than the average prisoner.
Cubicles are used because they’re practical, I guess. I spent a few years working in a high walled, dingy gray cubicle. It was a bit gloomy, but I didn’t mind it terribly. Now that I’ve worked in better office surroundings I look back at how poor of a work space and office environment cubicles create. I get that not every company has the space for actual offices and honestly am not sure offices are always the answer. Cubicles I know are not the answer though. A cubicle limits communication, stifles creativity, creates segregation and isolation. All things that limit effective business.
I now work in a pleasantly open office environment. The open environment cultivates a culture of communication, creativity and collaboration. Admittedly sometimes I miss the privacy and quiet solitude of an office, but I do not miss working in the shadow of the walls of confinement of a cubicle.
“Mr. Office Manager, Tear Down This Wall!”