Offices have gone from cramped, noisy environments to collaborative flexible spaces designed to evoke creativity and teamwork. Offices now strive to offer employee’s a variety of different spaces from private to collaborative whilst trying to reflect the businesses culture and brand through the design.
Cast your mind back to a time where men worked nine to five, women could write in shorthand and you sat at the same desk with the same chair every single day. When looking back at what working life used to be like, it’s much easier to notice differences than similarities and for a good reason. The office workplace has evolved over the last 65 years, in so many more ways than the décor.
Way back when…
Offices pre-1960 lacked most things we now associate with the work place – technology, resources and a clean and safe environment. One of the most common items found in the work place was in fact an ashtray. At this point, smoking was not only just common, it was expected; nearly everyone in the office would smoking a cigarette during their working day.
Offices were basic and so was the furniture in them. Desks were heavy, metal objects with a few drawers on one side, they were unattractive, fire-proof and durable. With health and well-being unthought of, chairs were often rigid and uncomfortable
The swinging sixties
The sixties were when offices began to change, open-plan became the ‘must-have’ office layout. But before you think ‘that’s no different to how our offices are now’, remember that furniture has evolved since then with acoustic furniture being a key element to modern day open spaces.
Back in the sixties when open-plan offices were first introduced, they were busy, noisy and dull environments with each desk and chair being identical and very uncomfortable. Technology was still absent with telephones being a rarity and although the office was open plan, it looked more like a school examination hall rather than a place for creativity and productivity. There was often very little space for down-time with floor space being utilized to fit as many desks as possible. Managers would often have their own offices or cubicles tucked away from the masses.
The furniture lacked any sort of technical elements, there were no acoustic absorbers and ergonomic furniture was unheard of. Desks were heavy, dark and practical and the chairs were uncomfortable, rigid and basic, quite often without any cushion padding – a far cry from the luxury every work place is now legally required to supply.
The 70s & 80s
The 70s and 80s welcomed the rise of the dreaded cubicle. The cubicle was accompanied with slightly more lighting and a huge reduction in noise level, which in a large office was certainly a positive. Although acoustic furniture was still absent, by breaking up the large open spaces, it naturally reduced volume.
However, with the introduction of the cubicle, came the decline in collaborative work. Offices were a maze of cubicle after cubicle with no space for workers to come together on a social and professional level. The 70s was a time for experimentation with design, designers were beginning to add colour to the workplace with desks, chairs and other furniture being renewed with yellows, blues and reds. It was a change that, although not lasting past the 70s, has revolutionised offices today with
The 70s was a time for experimentation with design, designers were beginning to add colour to the workplace with desks, chairs and other furniture being renewed with yellows, blues and reds. It was a change that, although not lasting past the 70s, has revolutionised offices today with colour being a sign of playfulness and brand image.
Moving towards the 80s saw the arrival of computers. The computer age arrived and did nothing but get stronger and stronger over the years – with this came an innovative change to the design of workplace furniture. Office furniture started to evolve alongside technology, desks were much more flexible, designers began to think about the health and wellbeing of workers as a key factor to consider when creating designs. By the middle of the 80s successful companies were investing in ergonomic chairs that were designed to provide as well needed back support and stimulate blood flow to the legs.
The Google age
The nineties brought us the dot com boom – computers were now an everyday commodity in the work place and furniture was becoming more and more sophisticated. The office chair had become a status symbol with those higher up in business having the most expensive and ergonomic chairs.
The office layouts began to change too with the removal of the cubicle to C-suites and reverting back to the open plan work place.
The 21st Century
Now, the modern office is a space built around the wellbeing of the worker and creative collaboration spaces. Having a variety of different office spaces filled with different furniture is designed to stimulate workers creating a happier environment to be in. With health and wellbeing at the forefront of many people’s minds, designers are constantly trying to create fresh new ideas that not only look great but improve wellbeing.
One of those improvements comes from the introduction of biophilic furniture, creating an overall better environment that is proven to reduce stress levels, anxiety levels and increase a sense of well-being amongst employees. Combine this with an open plan design that encourages interaction and allows for the incorporation of technology into furniture and social spaces making work places a much more enjoyable environment to be in!
Invest in the best
Frovi design and offer some of the most innovative and agile office furniture that wholly supports workers well-being. Frovi focus on developing designs with timeless appeal, designs that aim to provide attractive styles where form and functionality dovetail into one. From seating that is designed to absorb sound to enclosed sheds with built in screens to provide the upmost privacy for meetings and solo work in open workspaces. We believe that creating an environment that is comfortable for all and allows space for a variety of different types of work, is the key to having a happy and productive business!
If you’d like to know more about Frovi’s beautiful, practical and enhancing furniture, take a look at our product pages for a wider selection of products. Or if you’d like some more help on how to enhance your open plan office, click here.