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Small Business Digest


New Cubicle Barrier Delivers Busy Worker's Message: Get Lost

America's more than 50 million cubicle workers share a common problem - interruptions from co-workers that waste time and reduce productivity.

But now there's the CubeGuard Cubicle Message Barrier.

It's a retractable banner that is easily mounted across a cubicle or office entryway. Unfurled, CubeGuard displays a message such as "DO NOT DISTURB" or "GO AWAY," thus, its manufacturer says, preventing productivity interruptions before they start.

"Workers lose a significant amount of time to unnecessary interruptions, and the time it then takes to refocus on work after each interruption," said Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at Basex, a knowledge-economy research firm, and author of Managing the Knowledge Workforce. "Such interruptions cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars.  Low-tech solutions such as barriers can play a role in reducing the extent of this problem."

How, exactly, you may be wondering, does CubeGuard work?

CubeGuard is designed to fit into any professional office environment and comes in a variety of photo-quality print designs and messages. It attaches in seconds by either Velcro or magnets to each side of the cubicle entryway, fitting openings as wide as 50 inches. Users simply pull the message banner across their cubicle entryway when they need to prevent interruptions or to share their availability status. Changing the message status is as easy as swapping out message cartridges, the CubeGuard people say.

"Workers who have used the CubeGuard thus far are amazed at how effective this simple tool is in helping them reclaim some personal space," says CubeGuard CEO John Stanton, a 20-year veteran of the cubicle world. "It allows an employee to focus on his/her priorities and not those of the interrupters."

Adam Wilson, one of CubeGuard's early beta testers agrees. "It works. It turns away all those time-hogs that lurk at your cube and suck your time away. I'm saved from them at least five or 10 times every day."

To put this in perspective and to show how a product like this can help save a company hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, CubeGuard has a Return On Investment (ROI) Calculator that allows a company to input data about its employees' office habits to determine how much time is wasted each year:

Workers can pick from an assortment of background designs and create personalized messages to be custom printed. Companies can also personalize CubeGuard with customized designs and messages for their staff, for product launches or as a branded marketing giveaway. CubeGuard Complete comes with one message cartridge for a suggested retail price of $19.99. Custom messages are available for $29.99. Additional message cartridges (without mounting kit) are priced at $14.99 each for standard and $24.99 each for custom. Corporate orders are priced based on volume and extent of customization.

CubeGuard is available at and at select Fry's Electronics locations nationally.

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