The Evolution of Office Furniture

Office furniture has become more advanced and tailored to the needs of the employee in recent years. As work environments change, so must the furniture that is utilized in these spaces. Let’s go back in time and see how office furniture has evolved over the years.

1970-1980

1970-1980

Desks came in light wood colors with filing cabinets, more often not, on either the right or left side of the desk. The office layout was often clusters of cubicles with the desks built into the space. Ergonomic chairs were first introduced to the market after research was conducted on employee health and wellness. Chairs that adjusted to the height and shape of people became more popular. The emphasis on employee health and wellness and reducing fatigue and muscle pain sparked during this period of time.

1980-1990

1980-1990

Cubicles were still common for employees, while desks became larger in order to accommodate the emerging word processors and monitor screens. Swivel chairs were introduced with the ability to adjust in three different places: seat, armrest, and backrest areas. One piece, modular shells with ease of maintenance became more common. The importance of freedom of movement of the legs and hands, with an emphasis placed on functionality and comfort also came into play.

1990-2000

1990-2000

Cubicles were adjusted, becoming lower in height to encourage employee interaction. Desks were built-in to the cubicle with a surface that could accommodate all the computer accessories. As the internet and so called “dotcom era” evolved, so did the office furniture. Office chairs became more user-friendly with a self-adjusting system and ease of reclining.

2000-2010

2000-2010

Technology companies like Google inspired many companies to change their office furniture. The office cubicle became the office pod. Desks were transformed into workstations, encouraging open communication and collaboration between co-workers. The desk surface had more room as the equipment and modem sat underneath the workstation. Workstations were shared, with interdepartmental interaction and knowledge emphasized.

2010-Present

2010-Present

There are electric height-adjustable desks and task chairs and tables that are mobile with removable casters. Technology and open space layouts are prevalent having an impact on the design of office furniture. Innovative workstations that are flexible and have technologically advanced features such as automated systems, adjustable televisions screens, and built-in charging stations are also popular. There is an emphasis placed on employee health, wellness, and productivity, with office furniture that is ergonomic and reduces muscle soreness and fatigue.

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