When we think about furnishing an office, it is interesting to see how things have changed, much the same as styles and taste in the family home. If you have watched any period movies you will note the offices had a very “heavy” serious and staid feel to them. Not just the way people were “regimented but in the choice and style of furniture.
Then we went through a slightly more open period, glass and shiny metal seemed to be the craze, and little offices or cubicles popped up everywhere with “shared” office furniture. The style became a little more relaxed but the furniture still seemed hard and uncomfortable, more practical and utilitarian than artistic or creative.
Modern office have moved away from these confines and are blending practicality with artistry and are not afraid to bend or break the rules. Many offices are now people first, ergonomics as well as style, and functionality are considerations, the hugely human centric offices at organisations such as Google and Apple are prime examples of this shift in thinking.
Another thing that has changed is the lines of demarcation, no longer to people sit, confined to one small desk in one small area. Mobile devices and wireless office Intent has give employees freedom to move, untethered them from the desk top land line and pc. There is more of a focus on collaborative, team work, time clocks are rapidly becoming a thing of the past as many employees work swing shifts or manage their own time in relationship to expected outcomes.
Big solid heavy desks and uncomfortable straight back chairs have been replaced by desks that adjust to the workers height, can be used standing, or seated at various levels. Many modern offices no longer expect employees to work from a desk but rather a recliner type seat and writing pad in one. The thinking seems to be that happy, healthy workers are more productive than others.
This thinking has influenced the overall office atmosphere, walls are tastefully adorned with paintings or prints, large plants combined with waterfalls, inlaid fish ponds or mini fountains bring a sense of openness and nature. Sculpture, artwork or retro period pieces blends nicely with creative office furniture fostering sense of artistic inspiration encouraging people to think outside the square.
No longer does the 10 am and 3 pm whistle signal the start and finish of a ten minute tea break, instead, tea, fresh coffee, juices are available for staff as they feel the need. A growing trend in today’s stressful work environment is a staff “time out' area where punch bags and tread mills provide ways for people to release their stress and frustration.
Yes, the modern office has changed, Dickens would not recognise them as a place of work.