Mind & Brain See Inside Cubicle, Sweet Cubicle: The Best Ways to Make Office Spaces Not So Bad Why some office spaces alienate workers, whereas others make them happier and more efficient By S. Alexander Haslam and Craig Knight CUBESPACE/Asa Wilson Once upon a time the factory, with its dirty, noisy machinery, was the standard workplace of industrialized nations; today it’s the office. Hundreds of millions of people—at least 15 percent of the population in developed countries—work at a desk, with or without a partition that separates them from the desks of their co-workers. That’s an awful lot of swivel chairs. But a cubicle is more than a mere physical workspace. In recent years social and organizational psychologists have begun to amass evidence that the character of people’s personal work environments affects their performance in profound and surprising ways. The size of our desks, our proximity to natural light, the quality of the air we breathe and our privacy (or lack thereof)—all are major predictors of our comfort, our contentment and our productivity. This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now! Select an option below: Buy Digital Issue Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2013 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.