New Guy, New Cubicles, New Challenges

Posted by: Mitchell H. Kirsch 1 comments

Introducing the “fresh meat” into his new cubicles can be a big challenge, depending on the new guy you’ve hired. No sooner has that high-paid hire moved into his new Herman Miller digs when he shows his true colors: no easy-to-get-along, hard-working office bee, but a gossipy, lazy waste of space and resources. Yeah, integrating the new guy into his new cubicles can be a bit hit-and-miss.

Lay out a decent welcome. Before his new cubicles get broken in, make sure your new colleague feels welcome in your office.

“It doesn’t take a consultant or a think tank to understand the value of effectively integrating new employees into the workplace,” explains BureauPat at “This integration should boost employee performance and possibly even minimize staff turnover, as employees are less likely to leave a welcoming environment.” Question is – are his new cubicles going to be perceived as a welcoming environment? offers a few tips that can help your new colleague ease into his new cubicles and office environment – a formal announcement in office channels like office memos or bulletin boards; a personal welcome by one of the receptionists, and a tour of the office surrounding his new cubicles; and face-time with the CEO. This way, when he enters his new cubicles, your new guy will know he’s been welcomed properly into your organization!

Set the bar high. Before his new cubicles can be broken in, make sure your new employee knows the standards you set. In the first few days, you can’t allow your new hire to set his own standards within the walls of his own new cubicles.

Let him know his place. We humans are an awkward bunch – what to your new employee are his new cubicles, the old-timers see as territory that’s been fought over and won. Like it or not, the new guy will be part of a pecking order – one that you’re duty-bound to ease him into without blood spilled in his new cubicles.

Dr. Bakari Akil of explains that territoriality and dominance actually underpin any meetings between two new individuals. People who know each other well, explains Akil, “are intimately familiar with the power hierarchies that exist between them and other people within their own environment – there is usually no need for conflict (dominance) because arrangements, whether conscious or not, have already been determined.”

Now imagine the ‘new guy’ entering the new work environment. The people within the organization already have their arrangements in place. They know their roles, who is in charge, their general standing in the scheme of things and written and unwritten protocols of the organization. The new person upsets this balance and the balance has to be restored, albeit in a different way than before.

The end result, says Akil, is that “the new person has to negotiate terms with everyone in the organization.”

To avoid a stressful moving in scenario, the new guy has to be familiarized with his environment as much as possible – not just the new cubicles, but his neighbors, his role in the organization, and maybe some of the informal codes that govern dominance in the office hierarchy. Some of these can only be learned on the fly – but, as Akil states, “knowing your rights, responsibilities and duties can go a long way in avoiding hassles and ‘stepping on toes.”

Article first published as New Guy, New Cubicle, New Challenges on Technorati.

Dec 26, 2010
9:54 am

One of the often unspoken “rules” about cubicles that should really be verbalized or formalized in a policy is the type of decorating permitted. Generally, allowing personalization of a cube interior is a good thing. However, if the cubicle will be shared with other employees doing shift work, this has to be kept to a minimum. There are also issues of damage to delicate panel textiles that can be addressed with a clear policy without discouraging workers from customizing their workspace.


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