The office of the past, present and future – Part I

Last updated: 19 March 2014

Desktops today contain a fraction of the office equipment that workers endured in the 80s and 90s. Software has replaced hardware in a big way over the last few years and such is its popularity, you don’t have to be tech savvy to name the replacements. Cloud-based software has changed our lives in a way that has dramatically affected the way we view our workstations. In fact, some desktops have literally vanished as people work on the go.

Our relationship with software has blossomed and, as a result, our attitude to security has changed. Companies fear cybercrime far more than they do an office robbery. Architecturally, office spaces have changed, workers today enter buildings with secure IDs and ‘dock’ themselves at the most suitable desk space. As Jessica Stillman of GigaOM puts it we’ve ‘developed an analogous level of flexibility through the use of modular environments’ and this is reflected in the way we now communicate with talent from all over the world.

Software advances have allowed us a lot more space to think about the way we choose to work. Shelves aren’t cluttered with stacks of floppy discs that store 1.44 MB of formatted data per slice of plastic, Filofaxes aren’t bursting with 400 sheets of unread, but essential, company data from the last ten years, and the phrase ‘unified communications’ doesn’t involve sending a fax of a document, which your colleague sent you a pager message about, because he left his briefcase behind.

Modern technology raises security questions which didn’t exist in the past. Access to shared workspaces, documents, passwords and multi-factor authentication steps, for example, have become the digital alternative to a set of keys and a safe for our intellectual property. The Gemalto technology that sits behind our everyday communication reveals the numerous ‘hidden’ steps to working in a corporate environment today. It’s clear to us that the digital security behind one-time-passwords and biometrics do have a role in our futures.

Later this week we will unveil a set of slider images which uncover the changing face of our office technology over recent decades. From filofaxes and pagers, to tablets and apps, the way we work today (and the equipment we use to do it) is unrecognizable from a generation ago, and this project will aim to underline just how far we have come in such a short space of time. Keep your eyes trained on the blog this week for the finished results.