Should your office cubicle be smaller than your suburban home’s bathroom?

A short passage from Cubedhighlights the increasing size of suburban bathrooms compared to the size of cubicles:

To add insult to injury, [cubicles] shrank. According to a BusinessWeek editorial from 1996, between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s the average size of a cubicle decreased between 25 and 50 percent. Ironically, the editorial was spurred by BusinessWeek‘s editorial staff being “informed that most of us will lose our private offices in a year or two. This prompted a closer look at cubicles,” they wrote, “which are occupied by some 35 million of the 45 million white-collar workers in this country.” BW forecast only half humorously that at those rates the average cubicle in 2097 would be eight square feet. By 2006, when the average cubicle was seventy-five square feet, half of Americans would report that they believed that their bathroom was larger than their cubicle; one wonders to what extend the extravagant growth of the American bathroom, and of the suburban home in general, is partly a reaction against the shrinking of cubicles, where the owners of those bathrooms spend so much of their time. (p.243)

Interesting contrast. American homes are indeed larger today and have more bathrooms than in the past. Cubicles are often meant to be practical, places for business and yet suburbanites tend to desire more opulent bathrooms. Watch HGTV for a while and lots of homebuyers want bathrooms that are more like spas, have the latest features like granite and rain showerheads, and have plenty of space. For all these niceties, how much time do people spend in bathrooms compared to cubicles? The numbers wouldn’t even be close for the average cubicle dweller. But, bathrooms, particularly connected to the master’s bedroom, are showpieces, status symbols , and catch buyers’ eyes and cubicles are definitely not those things.

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