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Will We Still Have A Desk?

February 2021
Over the last year many of us have made the best of what we have at home to create an office space. Now, as the tide begins to turn on the pandemic, we will start to return to the office but will we have a dedicated desk?


Office Design


The work desk originates for the Latin work ‘desca’ which means ‘table to write on’. The bureau was a later development of the original desk, with a panel that folded down to write on and shelves to store things. By the 18th century, the desk and the bureau had become essentially the same thing. These pieces of furniture though, were handmade and expensive.  However, the majority of people did not work in an office, they were farm labourers or manual labourers, working in factories. It wasn’t until the 19th century, towards the end of the industrial revolution that machinery was able to make cheap wood pulped furniture. This meant that desks could be made en mass as more and more people began to leave the fields for the office. As technology began to develop, so too did the office desk.  Into the 20th century, more sturdy desks were beginning to emerge to withstand the weight of the heavy typewriters.

Over time, as the we required more technology in the office, such as fax machines, telephones, and eventually computers and printers, office furniture has had to adapt hugely. Firstly, desks became more ergonomic, style and function were important. New layout designs also meant workers could sit together at workstations and collaborate. It was deemed more productive if people could communicate rather than being isolated. Then along comes the golden age of technology as we entered the 21st century and desk design had to change once again. Wifi means that people can work from anywhere in the office so other furniture has become equally as important.  There is less need for cables so this can be taken into account in design. It also means that people can work outside the office as many of us have been doing in the last year, even if it hasn’t been out of choice!

The consensus seems to be that we will never return to the office as we once did. So what can we expect from the humble office desk now? Don’t expect to see bigger desks for separation, rather adaptable and flexible office furniture. Being able to customise workspaces will encourage workers back to the office. The furniture may also have to be fitted with occupancy sensors, along with footfall monitoring and other devices which will give office managers an overview of operations and daily productivity. Smart decisions with office furniture and interior architecture will lead to less wasted office space. Imagine if you will office furniture like Lego. It will be moveable, adaptable and flexible to suit whatever needs the company has at one specific time.

Without doubt, the office will have to be more inspiring, to become a fluid place of collaboration. Never before or again are we likely to see an opportunity like this to change for the better the way we work. And of course, Ozone Interiors are here to help you make these adjustments. In the short-term we can fix flexible walls to enable safe working as as we return to normality, these walls can be removed to create an inspiring place for workers to meet and collaborate.

Please do get in touch with any questions you may have. We’re happy to help.



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