Cubicles can prompt odd behavior, people who have studied them said. It is hard to see if colleagues are busy, so some cube-dwellers will send emails to a neighbor about a simple question that could have been answered more easily in a conversation.
Some technology companies never adopted cubes. Microsoft Corp., for example, promotes quiet and concentration by giving most workers offices with doors.
That is costly. Chris Hood, a manager in what H-P calls its Workplace program, said contact and collaboration boost productivity for many employees. Rather than make isolation the norm, employers should provide quiet zones for when they are needed, he said.
What is generally also noticed is increased noise, particularly with cubicles near conference rooms. Also, a lack of privacy is another issue. It's very difficult to call a recruiter from a cube!