With the rise in health consciousness and workplace
collaboration in the 1990s and 2000s, though, offices
began to shift away from the cubicle1 and toward an open
concept design. Fabric walls gave way to Scandinavian-style
furniture, but even this progress came with a catch. Though
the open floor plan was more aesthetically pleasing and
collaborative, many workers lamented the loss of privacy.
And while an open floor plan isn’t as static as a cubicle, it still
doesn’t go far enough in cultivating workplace movement.
THE NEXT ERA IN OFFICE DESIGN
With the arrival of Millennials and Gen Zers in the workforce,
companies have had to adapt to the greater emphasis
placed on intangible qualities like flexibility and collaboration
and the demand for more work-life balance. No longer is
compensation the end-all-be-all for people when choosing
a job. Workers of all ages, led by these newer generations,
are rallying around this idea of an office that centralizes
happiness, health, and well-being2.
In fact, an American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
study3 pointed out the intrinsic and measurable value
businesses can realize with thoughtful spatial design.
It noted that purposeful designs can have wide-reaching
and positive implications on employee performance.
Workers whose environmental design focused on functional,
movement-based changes — such as sit-stand workstations
— felt they were able to work at an impressive 90 percent
of their capacity.
In addition to reducing the high cost of lowered productivity4
stemming from sedentary workdays, standing desk solutions
can also help recruit and retain employees.
An office environment that prioritizes
its employees’ health and needs
inevitably attracts the best talent.
With an active workspace, interactions can occur more
naturally, bolstering the opportunities for a business’s most
valuable resources — its people — to do their best work
in an inspiring, intuitive setting that cuts out the old cubicle
and embraces the desires of today’s workforce.
THE EVOLUTION OF OFFICE DESIGN
FROM STATIC TO ACTIVE
During the 1960s, America underwent many developments, but none has since become
as notorious as the cubicle. For decades after its introduction, this seemingly modest
invention transformed the office landscape. It embodied stasis, offering employees a
place that they could sit — and even smoke — for eight hours a day, five days a week.
1980s 1960s 1970s
Robert Propst introduces the “Action
Office” – the forerunner to the cubicle,
which failed because it was considered
unusual and too expensive.
Manufacturers copy the concept,
introducing cheap, modular walls to
pack more people into less space,
while creating more focused areas.
Personal computers and wired
networks proliferate the workplace,
changing the landscape of
desktops and offices everywhere.