Office history you should know

Nowadays, offices are full of technology and computers, where meetings can be held instantly with people in other countries, thanks to the power of the internet. Of course, offices were once a place of simple chairs and tables with typewriters, pens and paper. An office is where the administration happens and perhaps meetings are held to discuss business strategy so the office set up will reflect whatever is the nature of the business.  It is very important to make sure the office worker if feeling comfortable in their environment and that definitely includes the temperature of the room.    If it’s to cold then people will shiver and want to wrap up warm and move around and if it’s too hot then it can send staff to sleep.  Luckily there is something businesses can do for heat problems and that is contacting an Air conditioning Gloucester company such as acecc.co.uk/ and asking them to come to your place of work.

Hundreds of years ago, the administration of the realm was taken by the Chancery. Laws were written out by hand and hundreds of pigeon holes would be used to store the parchment. I should imagine this took a great deal of time and organisation.

During the Industrial Revolution, due to such rapid growth, the first office spaces began to appear. The very first designated office building in England was built in 1726. It was a 3 storey brick called the Old Admiralty. The 18th and 19th centuries saw many industries booming, for example, rail, petroleum, retail and banking. Offices were coming into their own. In 1729, one of London’s first purpose-built offices was created and it was home to the famous East India Company.

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Steel and Iron were now being used in construction, which meant we could build higher and bigger than before. The Brunswick Building was another purpose-built office block created in 1841. The elevator was invented in 1852 making it easier to navigate these larger buildings. So the office as we know it today had it’s roots in the Middle Ages  but grew significantly during the Industrial Revolution.

Just as we can now work from pretty much anywhere with a laptop, tablet or phone and wi-fi connection, it wasn’t that different in the past. People also used to feel permanently attached to their jobs, for example, shop owners tended to live above the shop and employed clerks who lived in as well. Having no commute is great but does this also leave a feeling of having no escape?

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The 19th century saw the beginning of the mass produced office desk. Beforehand, a desk had been handcrafted to suit a specific individual. Bespoke commercial desks still being a popular option in modern offices.  The widespread introduction of the typewriter also meant that desks had to adapt once again. Steel desks become common due to their ability to hold heavier workloads and the constant pounding of the typewriters. L shaped desks were often used as to allow space for the typewriter as well as paperwork and correspondence.

There are similarities between office work today and how it was over the last 200 years. If you want to find out more about office history, there is an Early Office Museum online which engages in research on the history and evolution of offices, antique office machinery, vintage photographs and business technology.

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