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A very interesting article on Fortune will make office workers, Dilbert readers, and Office Space fans shiver when thinking of the time spent in cubicles at work.
The article tells us the cubicle was the brainchild of Bob Propst, who had joined a furniture and office company called Herman Miller, based in Zeeland, Mich (not to be confused with good old New Zealand folks!).
Originally dubbed Action Office, Propst's system was designed to increase productivity. Productivity would rise if people could see more of their work spread out in front of them, not just stacked in an in-box. The new system included plenty of work surfaces and display shelves; partitions were a part of it, intended to provide privacy and places to pin up works in process. The Action Office even included varying desk levels to enable employees to work part of the time standing up, thereby encouraging blood flow and staving off exhaustion.
"The Action Office wasn't conceived to cram a lot of people into little space," says Joe Schwartz, Herman Miller's former marketing chief, who helped launch the system in 1968. "It was driven that way by economics."
Check the full article on Fortune, and read about the move from cubicle to work mobility. And a good slideshow of office cubicles across the years.
PS. Did I say I have an autographed book from Scott Adams? Years ago I bought an electronic copy of one of his books and it didn't work on the Palm device I had back then. I sent him an e-mail saying what was wrong, and a few days later I got a hardcopy of this book, with a Dogbert cartoon and an autograph. Cool!
Image: © Photographer: Dennis Cox | Agency: Dreamstime.com
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