The Coworker's Cubicle


Volume Products' Macro-1So you thought you’d escaped the cubicle farm when you decided to put down roots in your local coworking community? Think again! The cubicle is back!

At Leeds’ The Round Foundry in the UK, entrepreneurs in the creative and digital industries can opt for traditional serviced office space or a hot-desking plan in a large shared space. Each hot-desker gets a cute lockable ‘pod’, that includes…

  • Six large shelves (with file holder tabs!)
  • Six power outlets.
  • Two Cat-5 sockets.
  • A coat/bag hook.
  • A motorized, adjustable desk area.
  • Um, wheels.

The pods (the model is know as a Macro-1)  are actually quite cool, designed by local company Volume Products as part of a range of modular office furniture. Though they appear to be designed for traditional office spaces, they seem to have been adapted well to the Round Foundry’s coworking area.

However is raises some interesting questions about the nature of work environments that coworkers are interested in inhabiting.

Communal environments such as San Francisco’s Citizen Space provide much of what is valuable about coworking – a sense of camaraderie, community and collaboration that remote workers lack when working from their homes. However, some privacy is desirable when conducting sensitive negotiations or discussions (though Citizen Space does have a kinda unwritten NDA between residents).

Traditional cubicled spaces are exactly the soulless prisons that most freelancers and web workers seek to avoid when they make the choice to escape cubicle farms.

Perhaps products such as Macro-1 provide a useful middle ground, enabling a semi-private environment for each worker, but portable and mobile enough to reconfigure into collaborative spaces when needed. Yes, it’s really all about those wheels :)

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