What is the best height for office cubicle walls?
The best office cubicles balance the need for light, collaboration, and privacy. Learn which height of cubicle will maximize your workspace here.
If you are working on a new office space, I am sure you are getting no shortage of opinions. “We should create a space which lets in more light.” “I want something where it is easy to collaborate with my team.” “Please don’t have an open plan office, I get so distracted by the conversation of my coworkers.” “In the new office, I’m getting enough space for my Star Wars figurines and mini fridge, right?”
How much space should we plan on for every employee? At what height should we set the screens or panel walls to accommodate the most working styles?
The main thing is to balance the need for light and collaboration with the right amount of visual and acoustic privacy.
First, let’s orient ourselves in an average workstation.
You are likely sitting at a desk or a table right now. The standard height of tables and desks is around 30”. Sitting at the desk, visualize these following options:
Partial Privacy – The lowest screen height is somewhere around 42” or one foot off the work surface. This height of the partition does little more than divide one workstation from another and some acoustic absorption. This height works well if you work with 1-2 monitors in front of you because those monitors act as the main visual screen and the partitions themselves block everything under the monitor visually to remove distractions.
Seated Privacy – The next partition height sits around 50”. This height gives the full feeling of being in your own workspace when heads down doing work but when standing you are still able to make eye contact and see everyone else in the office. If the screening is done with full or partial glass this options can still let in a lot of natural light throughout the office.
Full Privacy – At 60” plus, these panels can provide full privacy even when starting. Some options can even go all the way to the ceiling to replicate the private office environment. This option gets the closest to having private workstations without the full expense of a buildout. The main downside to this style though is that it actually has the most noise complaints. Since people feel like they are in an office they tend to raise their voices when talking but this sound travels over the walls and around the office freely.
So which height is the most common?
In our experience most go for the happy medium and do seated privacy for most of their workstations with a few more open collaboration zones mixed in. A popular options is to do a 42” panel with an 8-12″ frosted glass portion on top to let in light.
If you need space with more privacy, I would suggest exploring create full private offices or intermixes a few phone or work booths for shared use.