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8 Tips for Creating a Cozier Cubicle

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
By Anne Kramer

The average American spends a minimum of forty hours a week in the lonely company of his cubicle walls. Ugly, boring cubicle walls. Yet employees who take the time to make their cubes more personal are not only more productive, but they are also healthier. Customizing and decorating the cube can prevent injuries and depression.

Essential to customizing any cubicle is choosing the right furniture. These function as the “skeleton” of the cubicle, and it is important that they provide musculoskeletal support as well.

  • Position the computer to avoid eyestrain. The monitor should be approximately 18 to 28 inches from the eyes, with the top of the monitor parallel to the top of the head. A monitor riser can compensate if the screen is too low.

  • The keyboard’s position should encourage proper typing posture. Wrists should be flat, and elbows positioned at slightly open to 90 degrees.

  • It is worthwhile to invest in a comfortable chair. A recliner might sound more comfortable, but an office chair with adjustable backrests, armrests, and height will promote proper posture and circulation.

  • Mood lighting has its place in the office. The dimmer lighting of most workplaces is ideal for people reading from a computer screen. Reading from hard copy, however, requires a bright light. A stylish desk lamp not only adds a touch of personality to a workstation, but it can also prevent eyestrain.
Once the cubicle meets physical and functional needs, it is time to address psychological ones. Incorporating individual touches relieves stress and makes time at work more pleasant. Furthermore, displaying personal items can foster a sense of camaraderie between co-workers.

  • A house plant will both enliven the desk and clean the air. It is important to choose one that requires little light and minimal care, since the plant will get neither over weekends and holidays. Peace lilies are an excellent choice, because they are easy to care for and help clean the air.

  • Carefully chosen photos of family, friends, and pets can provide a boost even during the most dreary tasks. Pictures of travel destinations, real or imagined, will help when a quick mental vacation is in order.

  • Office accessories are another opportunity to express one’s personality and style. Instead of using the standard, drab, office-issued staplers and post-its, upgrade to brightly colored, unique desk tools. Calendars relating to a hobby or outside interest also add another dimension of individuality.

  • The most dramatic way to liven up a cubicle is to cover cubicle walls with a cheerful fabric. It can be pinned into place with straight pins or affixed with hot glue.
Given the long hours spent at work, it makes sense to make the space as welcoming and comfortable as possible. With the right furniture and personal touches, any cubicle can feel more like home.

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