Cubicle hell.

The mere mention of these two words is enough to send shivers down the spines of office workers the world over. Put the clichés aside, however, and the reality need not be as grimly depressing or sinister as it seems.

It’s easy to forget, today, that cubicles were originally introduced not simply to squeeze increasing numbers of workers into cramped urban spaces, but actually to help drive efficiency and even job satisfaction. And for all their bad press, the reality is that there are cubicles, and then there are cubicles.

One company that’s notable for advances in the field is Japanese office furnishing brand Okamura, a regular presence at international design awards. Their Muffle range is a case in point. What looks at first glance to be, well, very cubicle-like is actually enhanced by high-tech innovations, with materials designed to minimise acoustic distractions and colours chosen specifically to reduce stress. More than that, cubicles are adapted to create collaborative spaces for brainstorming with small sofas or additional tables integrated into the cubicle context.

If your employer won’t stretch for high-tech Japanese office furniture innovations, you could always enlist the growing YouTube army of ‘cubicle makeover’ rebels.

Oh, and put us down for a beach house cubicle, please.

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