The death of the office desk may have been exaggerated

The death of the desk may have been exaggerated Twenty years ago the typical office was a busy place, with printers running, big, bulky computers taking up desk space, post it notes, notepads, scanners and fax machines whirring in the background. In today’s workplace, desks are barren in comparison to the offices of a generation ago, purely because there is little need for so much stuff. With the introduction of modern digital devices it is no surprise that the concept of the ‘work station’ as we once knew has changed. The truth is, almost everything we use in the office nowadays is readily available online, with even websites being created for the specific purpose of serving as online meeting rooms. This means the concept of a physical office, where colleagues go to collaborate, share opinions and exchange meeting notes, is no longer a completely valid concept. With this in mind, are desks really needed to create a solid working environment anymore?

Nowadays our tablets and Smart phones have all the capabilities and more of a computer in the early 90’s. They can connect to the internet, interact with peers and share crucial data in an assumed secure environment. It is no longer necessary for colleagues to travel to work and they can, if necessary, work from home in bad weather or if they are subject to illness.

However many employers still feel that there is a beneficial effect to having a physical office where employees can congregate, collaborate and work unhindered by other possible external factors. Although some people may find it easier to work from home or on the go, many others may find it easier to concentrate in a working environment as it makes it easier to differentiate from the ‘workplace’ and the ‘home’.

Although in theory there is really no need to have an office with a desk, lamp, etc, in practice, people generally work better in a constructed ‘working environment’. When you step into an office, something clicks in your psyche that enables you to work more efficiently.

It may just be a force of habit for us to create this idea of a workplace; however it still stands to reason that people in general are far more productive in an office than working from a tablet on a sofa somewhere. This may change as we get more used to the ‘online working environment’ but for now I believe the desk has a safe and secure place at the centre of our offices.


crispin-williamsCrispin Williams of Engaging Interiors is an interior designer specialising in innovative and unique approaches to interior design across both the home and the workspace.