If you’ve ever seen A Christmas Carol, you’ll be familiar with the Dickensian office set up. Right up until recent history, offices were shoe-horned into existing, residential buildings. You’d still have the open fireplaces, the little rooms designed for a different purpose, large(ish) desk, piles of paper. A Health & Safety nightmare – had there been Health & Safety.
The modern office was hailed as so much more suitable – a building designed to be fully functional for the rising population of white collared workers. We had our own desks, our own desktop giant of a PC, a march down the hall to the photocopier. And with the rise of the modern office came the lack of "rise" in our working day – the sedentary lifestyle has become a major health risk to a huge number of people.
Meanwhile, as technology has evolved, we’ve stopped working 9 – 5 and leaving our work in the office. As the laptop has become the workhorse that the desktop once was, and with the advent of cloud based applications, our laptop can access the same data in the office as it can back home.
How we use our laptop at home in terms of furniture has been different to how we use it in the office. Now we are bringing our mobile devices into the office and are aware of how important it is to get up and move about, it’s time for office furniture designers to adapt to our working needs.
Some furniture designers have embraced the concept of the mobile office and new designs are incorporating the fluidity needed for today's workers. One such company State side that has caught our eye is The Good Mod, a Portland, Oregon-based design firm that was commissioned to build office furniture for a workspace in which the majority of the staff would be using laptops. Their furniture designs feature details that have been optimised for laptop use, such as conference tables with integrated power outlets, chairs with thick armrests, and furniture pieces that can be used as footrests that are light enough to move, but heavy enough not to budge.
With the rise of laptop use at the office, the furniture on which work is done has to evolve to fit the needs of the times, namely, to be adapted for portable work devices and all the new scenarios that come with their use in a business environment. We look forward to witnessing more office furniture designs that reflect modern working patterns.