The Evolution of the Modern Office Furniture through the Years

The growth of the modern office demonstrates how much our workplace has changed from only twenty years ago. By prioritizing human well-being, office designers in this decade like to concentrate on increasing employee engagement. The modern workplace is made up of huddle rooms, break rooms, and touchdown areas that are especially suited to the needs of the employees, whether it be cooperation and socializing or a quiet spot to concentrate. Gone are the days when everyone worked in isolated cubicles in one large building.

New trends are being introduced into the workplace to boost employee satisfaction in addition to the evolution of conventional settings, such as the resimercial, biophilic, and Scandinavian office trends. In addition, we no longer follow the conventional office arrangements in the face of the epidemic. As more people continue to work from home or embrace hybrid schedules, modern home office design has recently attracted much attention. Because of our current situation and improved technology, we have added flexibility to the workforce and discovered that some businesses are successful with remote and hybrid work.

A Short History of the Modern Office

The 1800s

The idea of an office has been around since the Roman era, but the first truly modern office first arose in Britain in the 1800s. Britain, why? The British East India Trading Company needed its own headquarters at this time because they were only starting to increase their commerce and influence abroad. While those with lower jobs in mechanical work “[work] in concert with a number of clerks in the same room under proper supervision,” Sir Charles Trevelyan, a secretary who worked at the company at the time, described the offices as “separate rooms [that] are necessary so that a person who works with his head may not be interrupted.”

The 1900s

What elements have influenced workplace design over time? When the year 1900 arrives, there are now a ton of different office design options available. Frank Lloyd Wright offers the first open-plan office structure for SC Johnson Wax in response to a growing workforce. The initial open-plan office design had no walls and large expanses of open space with desks arranged in a grid-like pattern. In order to encourage contact among employees, Wright designed a workspace without partitions or smaller offices. He sought to foster a workplace environment that fostered innovation and collaboration.

When anything new becomes popular, it usually does so as a response to the most recent trends. Taylorism follows the same logic. Taylorism, which was named after Frank Taylor, used science to improve office layouts. Taylorism did not place the same emphasis on inter-employee cooperation and communication as Wright did. Although their designs were similar, with employees seated side by side in rows of long desks, productivity ultimately prevailed. Managers circled the interior to keep an eye on the workers congregated in the center of the office.

Humans have long been obsessed with productivity, which is most obvious in workplace culture. Taylorism embodied it but did so by omitting essential social and human components that led to disgruntled workers and demeaning workplaces.

The currents of change made its presence felt once more in the middle to the late twentieth century. A German design strategy known as Burolandschaft quickly became well-liked as a popular workplace design because it attempted to democratize the workplace and promote interaction among coworkers shortly after Taylorism had taken hold. In response to the open plan office, Robert Propst developed the “Action Office” because, in his words, “Today’s office is a wasteland. It depletes energy, stifles talent, and hinders success. It is the typical sight of unmet expectations and unsuccessful efforts.

And so the era of cubicles began.

The Action Offices’ cubicles were designed to provide a different working environment that provided some seclusion without impeding movement. They were given a lot of desk space for phone conversations, a vertical filing system, and privacy dividers when Propst designed them. Additionally, the workstations were designed to be height-adjustable, allowing users to stand while working to improve blood circulation. It was a forward-thinking strategy that might have raised the office to new heights.

Then how did it turn into the cubicles we detested?

It failed, to put it mildly. Propst’s vision for the Action Office was too pricey and too avant-garde for the market. Instead, the business Propst worked for, Herman Miller, unveiled a scaled-down version that lacked any features that promoted employee satisfaction and had an enclosed modular desk system. Businesses discovered that it was simpler and less expensive to squeeze people into cramped areas that were known as “cubicle farms” due to their degrading characteristics.

Returning to the Present

Offices still have cubicles, but they have been updated and renovated to meet modern requirements. Numerous new areas are being created and extended as a result of businesses placing a higher priority on employee morale. The office doesn’t have to be the only location where you work any longer, but if you ever want to go back to the old ways, redesigned cubicles offer a number of possibilities that balance privacy and community without sacrificing either.

In terms of office design, we’ve come a long way. The numerous ways that architects and designers have attempted to increase production over the years are reflected in the fashions of the day. However, we can anticipate fewer cloistered designs and more flexible office concepts thanks to the present emphasis on employee pleasure in the growth of the modern office.


Overall, modern office furniture has come a long way since its inception. From its early days as a simple desk and chair to the more modern options that are available today, furniture has evolved to meet the needs of the modern worker.

While some aspects of the furniture may be changing more rapidly than others, the overall trend is toward increased comfort and efficiency.

If you are looking for a great source of workstation office furniture in Plano, TX, look no further than our amazing selections here at FOH Furniture LLC. We are your premium source for high-quality commercial furniture. Check out our online shop for more of our contemporary office furniture collection and its prices.


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