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Four Ways to Refresh Your Cubicle

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From brand-spanking new cubicles to used cubicle setups, any cubicle-sized workspace could stand improvement through intense personalization. Let’s face it: most cubicles are impersonal little cubes, and morale (along with productivity) would suffer intensely if you couldn’t personalize your workspace the way you see fit.

From the outset, there are immense challenges to implementing your cubicle ideas: fabric-covered walls don’t do much for privacy and personal space (and the fabric used for your cubicle probably isn’t the prettiest, either). You don’t want to stand out too much from the rest of your officemates, nor do you want your new cubicle design to offend their sense of propriety.

(Actually, sometimes a bit of cubicle subversion is called for, c.f. Jamie Zawinski’s Tent of Doom, erected in opposition to a stifling Star Trek-style cubicle setup.)

If you’re not Jamie Zawinski (and you likely are not), you need to personalize your cubicle within limits: keep it personal and refreshing, but keep your new cubicle ideas strictly within the bounds of what your company will allow.

What could you introduce into your cubicle as a perpetual Function-5 key to the dreary workspace? Here are a few suggestions:

Living things. Living biological specimens do wonder to spice up the ol’ used cubicle, but if you’re out for weeks at a time, get something a little more low-maintenance.

An evergreen like the Amazing Desktop Dinosaur Plant handles not being watered quite well. You might also like to try succulent plants; these buggers are easy to maintain and don’t need watering very often.

If you want to cheat, get an electric-powered “plant” that can sit in your cubicle without requiring any care beyond the occasional battery change. This electronic “flip flap” plant is unobtrusive, rather cute, and adds a touch of character to your cubicle. It only works on cubicles with access to some natural light, though, so forget having one if your cubicle doesn’t get much light in the first place.

Local lighting. Here’s a bright cubicle idea: rise above the slow death of the usual office fluorescent lights, and get illumination that actually helps you work and adds character to your cubicle. If you don’t have access to natural sunlight (and let’s face it—chances are you don’t), get local lighting that takes over from the sickly fluorescence most workplaces offerl Local lighting increases light levels over your cubicle, allowing you to adjust and control lighting without bothering your cubicle neighbors too much.

Stress relief toys. Stress relievers are always a welcome diversion in the over-worked, over-stressed cubicle. Colorful stress relievers don’t just feel great when they’re being worked over by stressed hands; they also look great when resting on a corner of your cubicle within easy reach!

For a more flexible take on the cubicle stress relief toy, get a can of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty to give your hands and fingers a more thorough workout.

Knick-knacks. Get items that are intensely personal to yourself, and use them to rework your cubicle into a space you can call your own. Plus points if you use items that you made yourself. Posters, model cars, a globe, a picture of the wide outdoors… knock yourself out.

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