How Much Does a Cubicle Workstation Cost in 2020?

There are dozens of manufacturers who design workstations and, on top of that, hundreds of ways to configure them…but how much do they actually cost?

“It depends.”

If you’ve ever asked this question to a commercial furniture dealer, that is likely the answer you received. Unfortunately, while that is probably the most truthful answer, it’s not always helpful when trying to build a budget for an office furniture project for your workspace.

To get a better idea of what your workstation might cost, let’s explore the factors that influence that cost so we can shed light on what causes it to vary.

There are hundreds of ways to configure a workstation, so in order to compare pricing factors in as ‘apples-to-apples’ terms as possible, we will base our costs off of one of the most typical designs we see: the 6 foot x 6 foot L-shaped workstation. 

6 By 6 L Shaped Workstation
A 6'x6' L-shaped workstation layout

The Cost of a Workstation in 2020

While you can easily look to online budget retailers and find a set of cubicle walls with a built-in desk for less than a thousand dollars, a typical budget for a workstation made by a reliable commercial office furniture manufacturer ranges between $1,500 and $5,500

Based on past projects and customer feedback, we have developed a budget tool for workstations and other office furniture nicknamed, “Good, Better, Best.” These mock-ups show a good range of options within workstations, highlighting certain features that drive costs up or down.

What Factors Affect the Cost of Workstations or Cubicles?

When looking at the cost of office furniture, the largest price factors for workstations tend to be finishes and storage; additional factors include height-adjustable desks and accessories.

Panel Finishes and Heights

For every surface on a cubicle workstation, there is a corresponding finish. The panel of a workstation, as an example, could be fabric, laminate, veneer, wood, steel, or even markerboard, and the cost implication of each will be different. 

Your basic workstation will consist of fabric panels with laminate surfaces for the desk and return areas, all supported by metal frames. A few of the most common upgrades that we find  our customers love include:

  • Upgrading panels from fabric to laminate or veneer for high traffic areas (laminate or veneer finishes are easier to clean)
  • Converting some interior panels to markerboard or tackable fabric tiles (to give the user more functionality within their workstation)
  • Glass addition to the top of a workstation panel to allow for more natural light to penetrate a workspace

Another consideration with panels is their height. A few decades ago, the norm was to lean toward privacy in the workstation, utilizing panels taller than any NBA basketball player. With the rise of the open office concept, that has shifted to much shorter panels to encourage collaboration amongst coworkers. Logically, the higher a panel, the more material used, and therefore the higher the cost.

Storage

As workstations often function as employees homes away from home, they desire as much storage as possible. The general rule of thumb is that the more storage, the higher the cost. At minimum, we recommend a fixed or mobile pedestal that can be housed underneath a desk surface; but, ultimately, we design workstations based on the needs of those who will work there. 

To discover those needs, a few of the questions we often ask are:

  • Will you have areas outside of the workstation for employees to store things? An area of shared lockers or departmental filing cabinets? Or does the storage need to be more individually-focused and accessible within the workstation?
  • What kind of storage will your panel heights accommodate? Can you include overhead storage or will you need to utilize a storage tower, beside pantry, or credenza instead?
  • How do you hope your workstations will function for your employees: as a geared-up homebase or simply as a touchdown spot? We have seen that the more an employee is able to “make themselves at home” in their workstation (i.e. how many snow globes from their ever-expanding collection can they find a place for in their space?), the more time they will want to spend there.

Height-Adjustable Worksurfaces

We have all heard the catch phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Whether or not you buy it, employee health has continually become a growing concern amongst employers, and many offices are turning to the height-adjustable desk as a way to give employees more options than simply sitting all day. 

 

As you probably expected, height-adjustable desks require more components and mechanisms than a fixed-height desk and will increase the cost of a workstation.

Ergonomic Tools & Desk Accessories

Add-ins that boost the functionality and ergonomics of a workstation can include things like keyboard trays, monitor arms, markerboard or tackable fabric tiles, bag hooks, security drawers, and more. It is also worth considering cable management solutions for a workstation, as the mass amount of cords can become pretty unruly. Additionally, there is an wide variety of personal dividers, suspended pedestals, floating shelves, hooks, trays, and privacy screens that can be added to workstations, and, in general, the more that are included, the higher the cost.

Other Costs to Consider

In addition to what we’ve mentioned so far, you also need to factor in the costs of additional items such as a task chair, monitor arms, or a keyboard tray. The budgets we shared above don’t include those items, but they are things that your employees will need. 

What This Means for Your Furniture Project

At this point, you may be overwhelmed by either the potential price of workstations or the sheer volume of options and customizations possible. The silver lining is this: there is a cubicle workstation solution out there that is right for your employees, both in price and functionality, and we are here to help you design it. 

 

One great place to start in this design process is to learn more about how your employees currently use their workstations on a day-to-day basis. Some questions you can ask them:

  • What are your daily tasks and how well is are your current workstations supporting those?
  • What are the things you like about your current workstation the most?
  • Are there features that you wish your workstation had?
  • Do certain job functions within your organization require additional storage or privacy?
  • How do you expect your departmental teams to interact and collaborate? Does your workstation layout support that?

In addition to designing and installing your workstations, we can help facilitate and guide those conversations to figure out exactly what your company needs. We have found that the earlier a company brings an office furniture dealership or space planner on board for a project, the smoother this entire process will go. 

We hope that this guide has been informative for you as you begin budgeting costs for your cubicle workstations. BII uses a proprietary budgeting tool to help gauge the overall cost of workstation design and implementation, and we are happy to share it with potential customers upon request. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out – we are happy to help!