Intel Corp. is often credited, or blamed, for popularizing the office cubicle. Now it is joining some prominent Silicon Valley peers in reconsidering the concept.
The chip maker, emulating experiments at companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., is planning tests in three U.S. locations of new office layouts. Plans include tables where several users can plop down with laptop computers, multiworker desks, and lounge-like settings with armchairs -- all a far cry from the mazelike grid of tall gray cubicles in most Intel buildings.
Behind such tests is a growing recognition that classic, Dilbert-style cubicles have many shortcomings. For one thing, they tend to block visibility without blocking much noise from other cubes.