snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > SLC Central > SLC

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 19 July 2018, 12:25 PM
DawnStorm's Avatar
DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
Join Date: 11 March 2003
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Posts: 16,667
Glasses Office Furniture Trends Through the Years

This should be fun--I hope. I've been in the work force for over 30 years and over the years I've seen office furniture get more ergonomically friendly, which is a good thing. The funky furniture accompanying this does not seem to last though. Remember the kneeling chair? I got one at a yard sale for home use back in the 90s, and while it was comfortable, the longer I sat, the less comfortable it became. Then there was the gel space bar like pad that went along the bottom of your keyboard. I never used one of those. A recent trend was the ball chair. I didn't use those, but someone in my office did. Now that that person is gone, it's sitting in a makeshift storage area. Some of my colleagues use the adjustable desks, the one you adjust to either sitting or standing. Standing up while working never appealed to me, but whatever floats your boat. Although I haven't seen those colleagues standing lately, so I'm thinking either the novelty has worn off, or those people are not seeing any benefits.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 19 July 2018, 01:44 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
Join Date: 03 March 2010
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 2,115
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
This should be fun--I hope. I've been in the work force for over 30 years and over the years I've seen office furniture get more ergonomically friendly, which is a good thing. The funky furniture accompanying this does not seem to last though. Remember the kneeling chair? I got one at a yard sale for home use back in the 90s, and while it was comfortable, the longer I sat, the less comfortable it became. Then there was the gel space bar like pad that went along the bottom of your keyboard. I never used one of those. A recent trend was the ball chair. I didn't use those, but someone in my office did. Now that that person is gone, it's sitting in a makeshift storage area. Some of my colleagues use the adjustable desks, the one you adjust to either sitting or standing. Standing up while working never appealed to me, but whatever floats your boat. Although I haven't seen those colleagues standing lately, so I'm thinking either the novelty has worn off, or those people are not seeing any benefits.
That's pretty much the trends I've seen too. The sitting-standing desk is not a bad idea but over the long haul I wonder how much people will stick to standing.

I like the idea of changing positions, but for most folks, I have hunch that they have one preferred sitting position and will generally stick to that one...?

OY
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 19 July 2018, 02:29 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,516
Default

My experience with newer furniture, office or otherwise, is that most of it is made to fit somebody extremely well.

Unfortunately that somebody isn't me. It seems to be somebody significantly taller than me; with the result that all the bends and angles are in the wrong place. This can make the furniture anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to acutely painful for me to sit in for any length of time. Really old chairs, with their relatively straight backs and seats, may not fit anybody quite as well as the newer ones fit some people; but they don't fit anybody quite as badly, either, and I'm a lot more likely to be comfortable in them.

At least most office furniture adjusts vertically so as not to leave my feet dangling in midair; this is however generally not true of the seating available at restaurants, conferences, and waiting rooms. I've been known to go hunting for an old chair left hanging around in a corner somewhere; these are usually lower to the ground.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 19 July 2018, 02:39 PM
Sooeygun Sooeygun is offline
 
Join Date: 30 May 2008
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 1,140
Default

Not so much furniture, but office design...open concept, shared space, no assigned desks. That's the trend right now. I'm in commercial leasing. We are doing a lot of offices where only the bigwigs have offices and everyone else is in open space. They'll have some separate meeting space and maybe little rooms for phone calls (often with glass walls). No wonder so many of the staff wear noise cancelling head phones.

Happily, I work for an old fashioned owner. I need my cubicle walls to give at least a semblance of privacy.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 19 July 2018, 02:55 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,286
Baseball

Desk design has changed a lot over time too. From a standard flat top desk with one or two sets of drawers, through to desks designed with drop down sections to allow for computer monitors, to cupboards on desks and (my current desk) ones that are shaped like the letter U.

Also, the implementation of "tools" to aid in computer/human interface. I'm speaking of the fixed mouse pad that was invariably attached to the tray that held your keyboard. It was always fixed to the right side, which sucked for a left-handed mouser, such as me.

The adjustable keyboard tray is another one. Could never get used to that. The extras lift provided never gave me comfort. That is probably the reason for the gel pad along the bottom of the keyboard .

White boards have largely replaced bulletin boards. Every cubicle where I work (as well as every office) has at least one white board, while the only bulletin boards are the ones in the major corridors that carry all the stuff we are mandated to post.

It is pretty obvious to say that computers replaced typewriters in the typing pool. But computers have taken over the rest of the workplace too. And to push that one further, my workplace no longer buys towers for those working. When a tower is due to be replaced, it is replaced by a good laptop with a docking station. That allows us to travel with our contraptions.

Ashtrays used to be a fixture in all our workplaces. Thankfully, they've been long gone.

Last one, for now. The office coffee maker. We have plenty of water fountains in our buildings, so the water cooler was not ever a really big thing. But we have gone from where we had a 40 cup coffee maker that was on permabrew through to the 10 cupper, to it disappearing all together (go to Tim's) to the showing up of the Keurig brewer, to an espresso machine. So, while we still have the Keurig brewer, I suspect it won't be replaced when it dies. Fewer people are buying the pods/pucks, so it will just be another relic.

Good thread topic!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 19 July 2018, 03:18 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,742
Glasses

The sit-stand desk is quite popular with the attorneys, who do use it in both positions. I would love to have one for reading (since I get sleepy if I'm sitting down), but you have to have an ergonomic reason, which I don't have.

The trend I hate (and I'm not sure it's a trend, because it's been going on for at least 20 years) is putting the computer in the corner of the cubicle. When monitors were as deep as they were wide, it made sense, I will grudgingly admit. Now, IMO, you should be able to put your computer anywhere.

Having your computer in the corner invariably means your back is to the cubicle opening, so someone can come up behind you and read over your shoulder before you know they're there.

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 19 July 2018, 04:22 PM
NobleHunter's Avatar
NobleHunter NobleHunter is offline
 
Join Date: 21 September 2005
Location: Peterborough, Ontario
Posts: 619
Default

One think I like about our latest office renovation is that I have good line of sight in one direction from my cubicle. I really prefer having my computer positioned so I could see both approaches to my cubicle but it's better than the previous set up.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 19 July 2018, 04:27 PM
DawnStorm's Avatar
DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
Join Date: 11 March 2003
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Posts: 16,667
Icon86

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
Last one, for now. The office coffee maker. We have plenty of water fountains in our buildings, so the water cooler was not ever a really big thing. But we have gone from where we had a 40 cup coffee maker that was on permabrew through to the 10 cupper, to it disappearing all together (go to Tim's) to the showing up of the Keurig brewer, to an espresso machine. So, while we still have the Keurig brewer, I suspect it won't be replaced when it dies. Fewer people are buying the pods/pucks, so it will just be another relic.

Good thread topic!
Thanks.
My father used to tell me stories of the big coffee maker and how the coffee turned nasty throughout the day. However, it was too close to quitting time to make a fresh batch. My father and his colleagues decided that nasty coffee was better than no coffee.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 19 July 2018, 04:56 PM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,286
Baseball

Or you got that one guy who decided that he would flavour the coffee for everyone else. Nothing like finding out that Jim put salt in the 40 cupper, just because that was the way Jim liked it. No one else liked salt in our coffee, but as your Dad correctly put out, bad coffee is better than no coffee.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 19 July 2018, 05:59 PM
Alarm's Avatar
Alarm Alarm is offline
 
Join Date: 26 May 2011
Location: Nepean, ON
Posts: 5,717
Default

Office space 2.0

Some penny pinching numbskull somewhere in a planning and procurement area decided that all cubicles should be smaller, and no one needs wall higher than 1/2 walls....

In fact, the area where I work now, they are kicking managers out of their offices, putting them in cubicles and turning the offices into 2-3 worker spaces...

Anyone feel like a small oily fish jammed into nose to tail with one another, yet?

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 19 July 2018, 07:49 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,742
Glasses

It's called "denisification", Alarm. It saves money because you need fewer buildings to house your workers.

Luckily, my 36 sf cubical has walls that are 5' tall.

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 19 July 2018, 07:51 PM
Sooeygun Sooeygun is offline
 
Join Date: 30 May 2008
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 1,140
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
And to push that one further, my workplace no longer buys towers for those working. When a tower is due to be replaced, it is replaced by a good laptop with a docking station. That allows us to travel with our contraptions.
On the last 2 computer replacements in our office (yes, I've been here a long time), we actually went to fewer laptops. They were more expensive and they found that most who had them never, ever took them out of the docking stations. Now only those who actually travel with their computers have laptops.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 19 July 2018, 07:59 PM
Die Capacitrix's Avatar
Die Capacitrix Die Capacitrix is offline
 
Join Date: 03 January 2005
Location: Kanton Luzern, Switzerland
Posts: 3,323
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
Some penny pinching numbskull somewhere in a planning and procurement area decided that all cubicles should be smaller, and no one needs wall higher than 1/2 walls....
We have an open office plan, so there are no walls, just some cabinets which are perfect height for standing around. However, I now have two huge monitors, which means my monitors act like a wall, but don't do anything for the noise. Two other coworkers have the same size monitors so we are getting closer to having walls in our open office.

The phone is going soon. We'll have VOIP, so just headset with microphone. At least my new one is cordless.

Oh, and outlet strips. My phone gets power over the phone line, but the cordless headset does not, and the USB is not sufficient. So I had to find a new location for plugging in my phone. It seems that the monster monitors do have power only USB ports. I have to check, and if that's the case, I can use them for my music headphones (which need micro USB) and my phone.

So, despite the cordless headset, I still have cables all over. Including my desk, as it is a stand/sit desk.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 20 July 2018, 02:17 AM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,286
Baseball

9 years ago I was involved in a military project and experimentation on decision making. Very fascinating subject. I learned a load.

But the experience had one episode that informed me on the modern workplace. We had a professor from Queen's University come to speak to us about work environments. The military is incredibly hard to gauge for productivity. There are few effective metrics by which we can assess whether a measure we adopt is improving or degrading performance. So, we invited this professor to educate us on the metrics and effects in the civilian and academic worlds.

The professor was amazingly interesting. He addressed everything from daily routine (we call it battle rhythm), through how to access and deal with email, to office layout and collaborative work.

Just a couple of years ago, the military has adopted Workplace 2.0, with its small cubicles, low walls, lack of privacy, common workplaces etc. It is being installed in our new HQ in Ottawa.

The professor demonstrated incontrovertibly that this was an impediment to productivity for our organisation. Even in our small section (9 of us at the time) the standard cubicle walls were too short to provide any privacy, security or act as a buffer from noise from other areas. He proved it because I have a bad habit of talking while I work, to the computer, manual, whiteboard etc. And if I am not talking, I'm humming or singing a song under my breath. Now, with me being largely deaf, I don't realise the volume at which I do this. I apparently think it is quiet, but my cubicle neighbours all hear it. And, it distracts them because they can't help but hear what I'm working on.

Add that to the need to work in an environment where security, safety and privacy all need their places (don't want to go to the pay office to adjust the amount of tax I have taken off at source and have the corporal at the next desk learn all about it).

If everyone had their own private office, with scheduled collaboration time, routine interraction from their boss, and stated goals and objectives, our productivity would improve by low double digits, if we could measure it. As such, we are now satisfied that in the main building in the new HQ, 200 hard working people will be sharing a room where, while seated, you can see the top of everybody's head. Worst yet, not all 200 people work for the same organisation. Some are army, some navy, some air force, some in contracting, some in HR...

I don't like workplace 2.0
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 20 July 2018, 02:40 AM
Errata's Avatar
Errata Errata is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 13,160
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Having your computer in the corner invariably means your back is to the cubicle opening, so someone can come up behind you and read over your shoulder before you know they're there.
We have offices rather than cubicles, but we do have lots of the corner desks. We had them in our original office space, and when we expanded into a second building, they bought more of the same. When I saw how they set up the new office, I wasn't having it, so while everything was still being moved in I rotated all my furniture 90 degrees, with the desk facing the door, and part of the desk meant to run along the wall forming a barrier. Within a few weeks most of the building was like that.

These days half the offices have standing desks. I've thought about it, but it I would feel some pressure to actually use it, and when I want to focus on something I end up sitting.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 20 July 2018, 03:50 AM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Fredericton, Canada
Posts: 9,286
Baseball

I threw this question to my brother. He had quite a few observations:

- switch from extension cords to power bars
- fewer clocks on the walls, most people read the time by computer screens
- dedicated areas for server equipment
- radios for noise in the past has been replaced by people wearing ear buds
- 29 inch high desk, to a 32 inch desk with a 29 inch tray for keyboards, to back to 29 inch desk

Someone has spent time in offices... hahaha
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 20 July 2018, 04:56 AM
DrRocket's Avatar
DrRocket DrRocket is offline
 
Join Date: 03 February 2006
Location: Rosemount, MN
Posts: 2,243
Default

I used to work in another building in another division before moving where I am 10 years ago. They started on a program of replacing the standard cubicals with the low wall "open office" units, so my former co-workers will feel "empowered" to "collaboratef" with each other.

My former co-workers absolutely detest them. "Give them a chance!." they were told in a chirpy tone. "We think you'll really like them once you get used to them!"

One year on, they still detest them.

My current office has normal cubilcals. I was worried they were going to set up the new style here, but the whole program has been put on hold for "re-evaluation."

Whew! That was close.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 20 July 2018, 10:27 AM
Hans Off's Avatar
Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
Join Date: 14 May 2004
Location: West Sussex, UK
Posts: 4,600
Default

Iíve never worked in an office with cubicles (They are very rare in the UK) The desks I have worked at have been stadily shrinking over the past few years and are now vanishing alltogether.

My current office space is a converted factory which has desking for about 800 people on our floor, all open plan and about 60% hot desking of which you will be lucky to secure if you arrive after 8:30 in the morning. There is going to be a change shortly which will result in there being a shortfall of about 300 desks. One project team of 21 has applied for an allocation of SIX hotdesks that they are unlikely to secure.

Nowadays itís all about flexible working and collaborative tools (like Office 365 and Skype) I spend 2 days a week working from home (that will increase soon) which suits me fine, but securing meeting spaces for things like workshops is nigh on impossible.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 20 July 2018, 03:11 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,742
Glasses

The new spaces here (in my building, that I have seen) have a combination of tall and short walls. Tall walls along major traffic lanes, short walls between individual cubes (which contain 4 desks if they are square, 2 if they are rectangular). There are a couple privacy rooms, which are no larger than the cubes (6x6) but have doors (they are supposed to be used only for telecons, and AFAIK, people have been using them for that). Meeting rooms are in pods, a separate hallway with 5-6 meeting rooms. These are vary in size but are still small, for anywhere between 6-15 people. Each floor has a large conference room with space for 50 or so.

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 20 July 2018, 04:58 PM
Sylvanz's Avatar
Sylvanz Sylvanz is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2001
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,958
Default

I don't work in an office, but it is my opinion that the people that design work space, equipment, shelving, etc have never had the thrilling experience of using the stuff they design for extended periods.
As for sit/stand desks? I would love to have the option of doing both. I,very always wondered why people in the service industry must stand at all times. The oft repeated phrase "If you can lean you can clean." Might be part of it in my job, but it doesn't explain all situations.

My boss bought one of those ball chairs. After a week it sits ignored (and avoided in the corner of her tiny office.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
7 Hilariously Predictable Porn Trends from Across the Globe E. Q. Taft NFBSK Gone Wild! 0 20 January 2014 06:50 AM
Crossing Paths Daily: Obama and Ayers Shared an Office (Update: For Three Years) Amigone201 Soapbox Derby 13 30 April 2013 03:09 PM
Trends with benefits wanderwoman Social Studies 4 11 April 2013 04:40 AM
Keep your feet off our furniture, Mr President! Jenn Fauxtography 0 04 February 2010 05:10 PM
Japanese fashion trends snopes Fauxtography 19 17 August 2007 07:58 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.