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What are Cubicle Curtains?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett

Cubicle curtains, sometimes called cubicle dividers, are a type of cubicle accessory used by office workers to achieve limited privacy in an open space. Most cubicles have fully open door areas through which the worker inside can be seen. Some people find that the openness of this space encourages people to talk and distract the worker when he or she is attempting to accomplish something. A curtain allows the worker to prevent visual distractions through the door, signify to others that he or she is working, and achieve limited privacy from passersby.

Typically, cubicle curtains attach to the walls of the cubicle in some way and cover the part of the entryway that is approximately at the worker's face when sitting. Some cubicle curtains cover the doorway fully, but this is unusual. A small curtain that extends from the top of the cubicle walls to the middle of the doorway is usually sufficient.

The typical cubicle has fully open entrance areas.
The typical cubicle has fully open entrance areas.

The construction of cubicle curtains is highly variable, but as many people are taller than the walls of a cubicle, it is unusual for the curtain to be made with a bar crossing the doorway. More often, the curtain pulls across sideways from one wall and attaches to another. The curtain is usually left attached in a semi-permanent manner to one wall, so a compact storage strategy is usually part of the curtain design. Some curtains automatically fold, roll, or otherwise become small in size when released from the doorway.

Any fabric can work as cubicle curtains, but some are preferable to others. Fabric that blocks sound well can help dampen the noise of the office, thereby improving productivity. Some office workers enjoy curtains that have decorative designs relating to work in some way. An office manager may mandate what kinds of cubicle curtains are acceptable in an office. If a person brings curtains to work independently, it is usually required that the curtains be approved before installation.

The function of a curtain in a cubicle is manifold. First and foremost, it reduces visual distractions for the worker inside the cubicle by limiting movement in the worker's peripheral vision. It is also an effective way to politely communicate to other workers that a person needs to be free from distractions for a period of time. The theory behind cubicle work is that open space facilitates cooperation, but some people lose focus when constantly interrupted. A cubicle curtain can be the key to balancing the benefits of cubicle work spaces with the need for privacy when working.

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    • The typical cubicle has fully open entrance areas.
      By: 06photo
      The typical cubicle has fully open entrance areas.