Productivity tool gives workers a polite way to say ‘buzz off’

If your workers’ productivity is constantly eroded by interrupting co-workers, a new product could help.

The CubeGuard Cubicle Message Barrier provides a retractable message banner that is “easily mounted across a cubicle or office entryway. ”  It looks a bit like a police line, which provides a physical and psychological barrier to entry.

It was designed to help workers stop interruptions (and maintain the peace) instead of using a more direct message, like  “Do Not Disturb” or “Go Away.”

Over 50 million Americans work in a cubicle each day, says HR expert Susan Heathfield. Many people don’t feel comfortable telling their coworkers to buzz off or go away.

Some resort to weird and wonderful ways of telegraphing that they need time.

I’ve seen co-workers:

  • erect flags (one woman had a complicated system involving different colored signs)  to indicate, “I’m really busy and don’t want to be interrupted” or “I’m happy to talk.”
  • flee to another kind of cubicle (in the bathroom) so they can find peace and quiet to read an important document, and
  • put headphones on to telegraph that they are preoccupied.

Companies can customize a CubeGuard with a  “special” message.

TheBachelorGuy joked that he was going to customize his to say: “Don’t ask me where I got this, just go away.”

P.S.: Marketers, this could be a hot opportunity for a totally different kind of banner advertising:  CubeGuard is open to advertising on its strips.

Julie Power is editor in chief of The Internet and Marketing Report, and the blog She twitters at JuliePower and HRTraining.

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