Technology has disrupted the world, and the office space.
Temporary or temp-to-hire workers have more freedom to work from home – or the corner coffee shop – with a flexible schedule thanks to the evolution of cloud technology, laptops, smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
While every company likely needs to retain a centralized workspace or headquarters, technology will continue to drive design. Wireless routers, for instance, have largely nixed the need for a plugged-in workspace and the subsequent arrangement of desks in islands.
Who knows what’s next in technology’s impact on the workforce, but to understand where we’re going, it’s important to quickly review the workspaces of the past:
Technology disrupted the workspace of the late 19th century, too. The rise of telegraph, telephone and improved transportation enabled companies to separate administrative from production facilities. This led to large, open office spaces where desks and employees were arranged in an orderly if boring fashion. Hierarchy was important: Only the suits and bosses had private offices. The minions labored in noisy, poorly lighted environments.
The advent of the elevator allowed companies to consolidate even larger operations in one building. Air-conditioning made spaces more comfortable, and architectural luminaries like Frank Lloyd Wright entered the design space. The hierarchal structure now eschewed by modern Internet startups persisted: Bosses’ offices were arranged on mezzanines above the working masses.
Modernist sentiments focused more on incorporating common workers more equally into the workplace. Ergonomics also became a concern, and the 1960s and 1970s were a watershed for interior design and much more functional furniture and workspaces. This led to a diminished focus on hierarchal structure and the modern development of open spaces – once broken up by cubicles – that are manifest in the workspace to this day.
Collaboration and cooperation has become the go-to mainstay of office design. But the rise of technology, alternative work spaces and flexible schedules may soon beg the question: Who really needs an office anyway?
Regardless the layout, AtWork staffing agencies can find you a temporary or permanent office to hang your hat or use your laptop. Contact us today.