Office Design

A Case for Privacy in the Workplace

David Spence
May 6th, 2013

Promoting Workplace Privacy

There is certainly a place for the cubicle in almost any office, and for many reasons. Take a look at the biggest reasons you may want to keep your office partitions: a case for privacy in the workplace.

Fostering Work Time 

When you take away the boundaries, your employees will take advantage of their new environment. Friends will gather together and chat instead of doing the tasks at hand. Those who are determined to get work done will find themselves distracted by the conversations going on around them. Without walls, the world gets louder and focus gets harder.

With office partitions, you can reinstate that work time. You may want to offer an open office area where teams can gather for special projects. In fact, the largest part of your office space could be open and free for anyone to gather and collaborate. The important thing is that you have spaces where people can close themselves away from the distractions and get work done.

Granting Privacy

However often you count on your team to work together on projects, there will come times when privacy is important. Without office partitions, that privacy is impossible to find. With cubicles lining the walks of your open space, employees who need secrecy in which to work can find workspace away from prying eyes. This same is true for people who may need a bit of privacy for sales calls or even personal phone calls.

Install office partitions and give your team members the privacy they need. When the projects are ready for other eyes to see, your employees can emerge from the cubicles to share with the rest of the company.


In an open office, you may have trouble keeping track of your employees. Imagine all of your team members are free to choose tables and seats in different areas every day. Without some kind of roll-call system, which went out of style the moment your employees graduated high school, you’ll have no way of keeping track of everyone. If you don’t want people taking advantage of the situation, then assigned workspaces are the only way to go.

You can install those office partitions so your team members have their own defined space for a portion of the day if only to keep track of them before freeing everyone to join together in the communal workspace. You’ll be glad you kept everyone organized in this way.

Separation of Powers 

However much you hope to mingle with your employees during the day for a team spirit, there will be times when you must separate yourself from the rest of the pack. If you don’t have some form of organized office partitions, whether it’s a full-size office or a cubicle with only your name on it, you’ll find you lose a bit of the power you need to lead.

You won’t be taking advantage of your title or your status if you set up an office for yourself. You’ll need a place where you can brainstorm without distractions, where you can discipline employees away from prying eyes and ears, and where you can keep projects and research private until it’s ready to share with the rest of the company.

Take a tour of a variety of types of offices and see how they have made the most out of the space, and have kept areas where employees can work privately. You’ll be surprised to see how different organizations make use of walled offices, cubicles, open plan & benching, and even small meeting room or break out space to give employees a balanced workplace, and the solitude that they need to get work done. What is benching? Benching is a furniture solution that pairs a desk with other office furniture to provide extra storage and seating. Benching can also refer to where employees sit in rows very close to their colleagues.

Look at companies who are in completely different industries than your business; you may be surprised to find out that their arrangements are applicable in your company as well.

image credit: ambro/