From cubicles to collaboration: the evolution of workplace design
The evolution of our workplaces over the last century has seen functional offices of the past transform beyond recognition, to focus on collaboration and community, whilst incorporating cutting-edge technology.
US engineer Frederick Taylor is credited as being one of the first people to ever design an office space in the early 1900s. He developed the Scientific Management Theory to maximise the efficiency and output of an office, which saw clerical workers somewhat crammed into long rows of basic desks and chairs, while their supervisors looked on from private offices.
Moving through the decades, we have seen various design movements as well as technology advancements. From the Bürolandschaft open plan approach to the virtual offices of today where the introduction of WiFi, mobile phones and remote servers mean that the definition of a workplace has become far more flexible.
Zenith’s roots in office design began in the 1950s as a manufacturer of partition systems and manufacturing workstations and later expanded further into the commercial furniture market.
In those early days cubicles were still relatively modest, but fast forward to today and many people don’t even have a workstation in their office: they can go and work where they want and when they want in the most appropriate setting with the most appropriate tools for the task at hand. Hybrid designs featuring breakout areas, hubs, study nooks and conference rooms. The workplace of today is ultimately about utilising leading edge technology, collaboration and community.
These changes in the needs and wants of a workforce led Zenith in 2009 to invest in its in- house research and development (R&D) department, and consequently the Zenith Design Studio. With the aim to create environments that inspire people to excel, they create furniture that fosters an inviting atmosphere.
Technology is also shaping what the future of workplace design looks like. Offices of the future need to be able to support some of the newer technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) as the keyboard and mouse become less relevant.
Zenith are also working with leading companies that are at the cutting-edge of workplace change and looking at how collaboration and face-to-face meetings can extend beyond the physical workplace as VR and AR cement themselves into our daily lives.
What will be the next wave of game-changing technology to impact the ever-changing workplace environment?
Story credit: Australian Design Review
This article was originally published by Australian Design Review, media partner of DesignBUILD.