The History of the Office: Where Productivity and Creativity Flourish

a modern open office space with plants and white office furnitureOffices have a long, storied past. It’s where great deals are made, and where world-changing inventions come to life. But how did we arrive at the modern office? And where are offices going in the future? Today, we’ll delve into the history of the modern office to see if we can uncover any secrets to this crucial piece of modern society. If you’d like to convert your office into a more efficient, comfortable, and professional space, then Indoff Office Furniture can help.

The Origins of the Office

Here’s a fun fact, did you know famed English author Geoffery Chaucer is credited as the first person to use the term “office” as a place where business transactions take place? This was way back in 1395, appearing in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Prior to this, the term was generally used when referring to a position that involved certain duties. 

We can find the true birth of the modern office in the 18th century when the East India Company and other large-scale, complex organizations began to grow and take hold of the world. It was during this time that the first office spaces were being built. These buildings were built with the sole purpose of getting work done. 

Productivity²

At the core of every office is the need for productivity to thrive. This need gave birth to the office cubicle. In 1964, office equipment company Herman Miller teamed up with industrial designer Robert Propst to create a concept of a “modern” office that would fight against the monotony of past office spaces, thus allowing for higher degrees of creativity to flourish. What they came up with was known as the “Action Office,” a precursor to the modern cubicle. Today, the cubicle is seen in a less-than-flattering light but its original intention was to create a private setting where employees could work without distraction, thus letting their creativity and productivity flow. 

Japan in the 20th Century: Birthplace of the First Open Plan Offices 

One the other side of the spectrum is the 20th-century Japanese office. Japanese offices pioneered what is known as an “open plan” which mostly relies on ergonomic decisions that aid in making employees as productive as can be. Unlike most American offices, Japanese offices have no walls dividing desks or cubicles; individual offices are also eschewed in this open floor plan. In order to ensure productivity, the office or group leader sits at a prominent position. From this spot, the leader can assign tasks and keep tabs on work as its completed. Since this open-plan does away with walls, team members are able to speak freely with one another in case they require assistance or guidance. If this sounds like your current office layout, then you’re in good company! It wasn’t long before the open office plan pioneered by Japanese businesses found its way to other offices all across the world. 

Working from Home

There are countless industries in this world of ours. As such, some industries may benefit greatly from open plans while others are actually more beneficial with cubicles or team spaces. It all depends on the particular industry. But with the advent of the internet and the turn of the century, offices actually evolved to become more personal. So much so, in fact, that many individuals have gone on to work from home. Everyone from architects and freelancers to therapists and photographers has made the move to home offices. Although there is still a prestige that comes along with a physical office address, there’s unbridled freedom that comes from working at home. In fact, many modern companies have remote workers who live in different cities or countries. All this can be done thanks to the advancements in technology and internet connectivity. 

Coworking Spaces Explained

Coworking spaces are an interesting development in the trajectory of office spaces. Sometimes, working from home just isn’t in the cards. Perhaps you don’t have an extra room to spare or your family is much too loud for you to properly speak with clients over the phone without interruptions. This is where coworking spaces can come in handy. Coworking spaces seamlessly combine the idea of open-plan offices with the premise of remote work. For low monthly rates, you can have your own desk in a modern, state-of-the-art office. Coworking spaces are incredibly popular among freelancers, start-ups, and entrepreneurs so you’ll be in good company. In fact, that’s one of the main benefits of coworking spaces. Since you’re surrounded by likeminded individuals, you can flourish in your own endeavors. Coworking spaces create a unique environment. You’re your own boss, but you’re not on your own. You can take time to speak with those around you and bounce ideas off one another and there won’t be a supervisor keeping tabs on your tasks. As such, creativity can flourish!

Finding the Right Furniture

Whether you’re planning on converting your spare bedroom into your home office or you’re ready to start renting a space for your startup, you need to make sure you have the right office furniture to guarantee productivity, comfort, and organization. This is where Indoff Office Furniture comes into play. We carry the best of the best in business and office furniture. Give us a call today to learn more about what we have to offer!

7 Ways the Office Place Has Changed Over the Past 20 Years

Employees talk amongst eacn other as they work on their computers in their modernized workplace/office space.

Though offices have been around since what seems like the beginning of time, our experiences in working in them have dramatically changed. Long gone are the days of Rolodexes and smoking in the office. Now, work tasks and projects can be completed at the convenience of a smartphone, accommodations are made for the employees, and workplaces have become more open and diverse. We’ve gathered some information regarding some of the major changes that have taken place in offices within the past couple of decades. 

Employees Can Work Remotely 

Not too long ago, this was not an option for most employees. As of current times, approximately one-third of employees operate from a remote station, which is most often their homes. It is an accommodation that has increased worker motivation and has saved many companies the cost of running and owning more office space. With some industries, the internet has come into play by helping employees work from any location, full time. 

Major Alterations of the Office Desk 

In the 90s, office desks were jam-packed with all sorts of material and equipment, which were usually inconveniently heavy. A typical desk would contain items ranging from the phone book to staplers, pens, a telephone, notepads, dictionary, scissors, and more. Although these items can still possibly be found in an office today, most are missing from employees’ desks thanks to technology. There is no longer a need for bombarding an employee’s desk with tools that can be all found on the internet or through an electronic device. 

Office Designs and Styles are Ever-Changing

Approximately twenty years ago, many offices felt a bit more sterile, thus employees felt a bit stiffer and uptight at work. That is not necessarily the case as of recently. Contractors and business owners are constantly trying to find ways in which an office can feel more comfortable and inviting. Lighting fixtures tend to be less dim so that they are not too bright and headache-inducing. Sofas and couches are implemented to give employees and guests with a place to rest and take a comfortable break. Desks and chairs are designed to be flexible so that employees can move around and focus, all at the same time. 

The Use of Less Paper

The digital age has brought about software that makes the use of loads of paper unnecessary. Twenty years ago, paper material was necessary for any office as phones and computers were not as available as they are today. Going digital is now much easier than ever before. Many industries now utilize online technology to communicate, send, receive and store documents. As a result, the need for paper decreased dramatically. 

Waste Management has Improved 

Despite the fact that many offices use less paper, office waste has not decreased over the years. A vast amount of waste comes from the increased demand and purchases of office supplies and essentials by employers. Additionally, more and more waste is being generated from the use of departmental acquisitions and poor project management. As a result, many offices and workplaces are now adopting improved waste management systems, which is something you would rarely see twenty years ago and beyond. 

Diminishing the Tradition of the Cubicle 

From the 1980s to the 1990s, office spaces were known for going on a cube-modality frenzy and there was a fair amount of wariness over this new look. As the American population grew, so did the workplace. It did not make ergonomic sense to tuck every employee into a four-walled office space. It also failed to make sense to house everyone in a giant, noisy, open-air room. The logical solution lied somewhere in the middle with a hybrid office/open workspace. The average workspace is now formatted where employees can work amongst each other, interact, and make more contact. 

Facilities Management Software Has Evolved 

Today’s standard facility management software offers a wide variety of features and functionality that was not available before and it also looks more appealing. Gone are the boring screens that resemble DOS, replaced by colors that are easy on the eyes and a user interface that is intuitive. Updated software also offers a capacity for collecting, analyzing, and reporting on important data so that a company stays on top of its facilities and spaces. 

Get Started with Indoff Commercial Interiors for the Latest Office Essentials and More! 

We can never be sure as to what the next decade will bring, but as of right now, our professionals are here to help companies make changes to their workplaces to stay innovative and up to date. Contact us today to learn about how our office furniture and supplies can enhance your workplace, overall!

The Changing Tides of Office Space Planning

beautifully modern office space with glass partitionsMost people might not consider the fact that smart and successful companies take great consideration in how they organize their employees within their office space. The configuration of workers within a work space can profoundly impact productivity, office morale and culture, as well as fostering territory for creativity and problem solving. At the same time, office space planning reflects the changing trends in how people work and how they feel about their work. Here at Indoff Commercial Interiors we study these changing trends and how they help companies thrive, grow, and prosper.

The Early Stages

Early work spaces tended to put a greater emphasis on strict efficiency and often crowded workers in an open environment while the higher ups watched from an office behind closed doors. This was reminiscent of factory setups where the boss watched the workers from an elevated office. These early spaces focused solely on action and gave workers very little private space, individuality, or room for growth.

This then evolved into the well known cubicle. This was an era of office space planning focused solely on conserving space and resources. This led to rows and rows of square shaped areas separated with modular walls. These setups are infamous for creating a dull, robotic, and monotonous environment where the water cooler was the only respite from the isolating and impersonal spaces of the cubicle.

Modern Changes

The modern office world has made an attempt at tackling these traditional layouts, breaking them up, and integrating the need for a freer exchange of ideas. Many of the new concepts in office space planning include words such as co-working, cross-pollination, an incubation. All ideas that promote creative thinking and a richer environment that propels workflow and progress. The art of office space planning today is a delicate balance between privacy and communal work spaces that allow for more collaboration and engagement.

Design Productivity

Turn your office into more than just a place where people work.  With the right arrangement, your office will not only look great, but it will incite your employees to be more productive, creative, and propel your  company forward to better fulfill your mission and objectives. Call Indoff Commercial Interiors and join the revolution of creative office space planning and transform your business today.