At their best, office partitions go unnoticed as a neutral sort of element in our work landscape. At worst, partitions can seem like cruelly oppressive trap-like mazes that engulf us all. Whether they're meant to seem permanent or can be opened and closed with ease, the less we think about office partitions, the better they generally are. So, though choosing them might not seem like an important, weighty decision, think again - your employees' morale can sometimes be affected by them. The good news is that you have many options when it comes to picking out your office partitions. Here's how to select this important piece of office furniture design:
- When you pop your head over an office cubicle wall and catch your neighbor shopping on eBay or updating his MySpace blog, you're popping your head over a partition. Some people think the terms "office partitions" and "cubicles" are synonymous, but they're wrong! In fact, cubicles are only one kind of partition available to you. The cubicle brand is known as half height.
- Some office dividers stretch from floor to ceiling. These are called either floor-to-ceiling, appropriately enough, or full height. Although these office partitions fully enclose a person and, it could be said, impede visibility throughout the office, they also lend an air of permanence. They will seem less like "partitions" and more like "walls." But though they may seem more permanent, they can be rearranged or removed in short order. So, do you want your office to have the greater sense of openness, or do you prefer the more solid, permanent feel of full height dividers?
- If your answer to that last question is "neither," then you're not out of luck. Maybe you're looking for something that can offer full enclosure, but also allow for the openness that full height versions can't accommodate. If that's the case, then your best bet may be accordion walls. You might remember these from high school, where they've often been used to separate (and sometimes unite) adjoining classrooms. When slid shut, these partitions act as complete walls, but when open they create no barrier whatsoever.
- Your least permanent option would be the portable variety. These partitions are similar to accordion walls only in that they can expand and be made smaller. Unlike accordion walls, however, these portable partitions can easily be picked up, rolled on wheels or otherwise moved from one place to another. In other words, it takes minutes to move them or take them down, as opposed to the hours it takes full height dividers to be disassembled and moved.
Here are some handy tips for finding a dealer once you have an idea of the kind of partitions you want:
- Visit the Blue Book locator online to find local office partitions dealers.
- A search on Google or Yahoo for "office partitions" or "office cubicles" turns up many manufacturer websites, as well as sites that list numerous makers. A wide search like this is valuable to give you a better appreciation for the variety of products that exist for your choosing.
- Talk to your building manager. It's very likely that he or she can recommend local businesses.