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How Office Design Has Changed Over The Years

The office design, layout, culture and personality has seen massive changes over the years. Traditional office environments were typically closed-plan and featured old-fashioned decor and equipment, whereas most modern offices embrace open-plan layouts and flexibility in the workplace. 

Let’s take a look at how office design has changed over the years:

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When was the first office built?

According to K2 Space, there is evidence to suggest that the first offices date back to ancient Rome when spaces were used to conduct official work and administrative business. However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that dedicated office buildings began to be built. Records show that the first purpose-built office in Great Britain, The Old Admiralty Office, opened in London in 1726.

Traditional office layout

Traditional offices typically adopt a rigid, regimented layout with employees sitting in rows to maximise floor space. Most traditional office layouts have a visible divide between staff and departments, with individual enclosed offices or cubicles for employees to work in. 

Common features of traditional office environments include plain office furniture and decor, minimal natural light, and no recreational or lounge spaces. This can give traditional workplaces a clinical or institutional feel.

Modern office layout

On the other hand, modern offices remove division and physical barriers to encourage collaboration and creativity. Most modern office designs feature an open-plan flexible layout that supports a fluid and agile working environment. There is likely to be varied workspaces such as ‘hot desks’ and breakout zones where employees can go to relax and recharge. 

It has also become commonplace for modern offices to utilise advanced technology like smart office locker systems, immersive team apps and other workplace technology. Digital technologies are transforming modern businesses and become an essential part of running an efficient and profitable business.

Benefits of a modern office design

Most companies prefer to adopt a modern office design as it offers the following benefits over a traditional layout:

  • Encourages collaboration and improves communication in the workplace.
  • Supports flexible and agile work environments.
  • Utilises the latest workplace technology to improve the efficiency of operations.
  • Gives the workspace a homey feel that will boost staff engagement and morale.
  • Integrates natural elements like sunlight and plants. This can promote wellness and improve employees health and wellbeing.

A well-designed modern office will also help you create a positive and lasting first impression on customers and clients when they visit your business facility. This will improve your brand image and solidify your company’s reputation and credibility.


Traditional style office spaces still work for some companies, but a modern office design will help your company remain competitive in the fast-paced business world. A well-designed office space will boost productivity and help you run an efficient and profitable business.

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