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A brief history of office desks (desks through the ages)

Did you know; The word 'desk' means 'table to write on'? Over the years our desk usage has evolved to take on many different tasks and has become the symbol of the office as we know it today. 
Many years ago if you walked into an office you would find chunky wooden desks cluttered with computer monitors the size of televisions, huge printers, calendars and office supplies such as staplers, scissors and notepads laying around. Flash forward to 2017 and these days an office desk is a lot more slimline and modern with minimal items due to the change in technology and a change in people's attitudes towards their jobs.
Let's take a look at the brief history of our office desks and how they have changed through the ages:

Starting with the 1970's 

In the 1970's businesses didn't give much thought to the functionality of an office and filled the space with rows of large bulky office desks separating colleagues with desk dividers as it didn't make economic sense to have every employee hidden away behind a door in a 4 walled office. Computers were just evolving as highly expensive gadgets for the government to use, so businesses had to stick with typewriters.
An office desk in the 70's would often be filled with lots of clutter needed to complete your daily tasks such as a typewriters and calculator, and a telephone directory was an employee's best friend.


The workplace in the 1980's was full of perms, shoulder pads and  the first computers started to make their way into the office, via enormous boxes! Offices desks in the 80's were traditional woodgrain desks with cantilever legs, usually taking up workstation shaped spaces.
Desk tidies were an essential item to have on your desk with no computer storage it meant everything had to be filed away so storage units were in high demand.
An office desk in the 80's you can expect to find a large computer,  fax machine, a cordless phone and a filofax.

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The office in the 1990's saw the introduction of hot desking because there was no dedicated workspace for employees there was greater equality of furniture provided. From typewriters in the 70's to personal computers and floppy desks in the 90's there was less need for big bulky filing systems to store paperwork.

Wall planners and post it notes allowed employees to keep on track of their workload. Ergonomic products were developed to ensure correct posture such as monitor arms, wrist rests and CPU supports.


The office desk has now evolved massively, with 'working from home' being introduced by modern empoyers. These key pieces of furniture have a more slimline design with under desk storage units, and thoughts developed around how to position them in a workspace - with open spaces becoming more popular than ever.

Due to the change in technology (and size of it!) there's less need for large workspaces and filing systems.


The average office worker is now 84% more productive than they were around 30 years ago and the transformation of the office environment may have helped this. Today many offices are upgrading their standard sitting desks to healthy height adjustable office desks encouraging employees to be more active throughout the day promoting healthy lifestyles.

Employees no longer have to work 5 days a week 9 while 5 stuck in the same office with flexible working practices employees now have the choice where, when and the hours they work. If you look around a typical office, you'll find messy, tidy and standing desks covered in personal items making an individual's office desk unique to them.

The future of the Office desk

You may be thinking 'what's next for the office desk' after all they have come along way from traditional woodgrain desks to adding individual characters and standing desks.

Office Desks from Bluespot Furniture

If you think your office furniture is stuck in another decade come to Bluespot Furniture for all your furniture essentials. We have a great range of office desks with matching storage options available so you can be sure to find what you need.

We manufacture all of our office furniture to the highest standards in our own UK factory. We hold FSC and ISO certificates - which is why we also offer a 10 year guarantee on all our products.

For further information on any of our product or services, call a friendly member of our experienced sales team on 0800 8044 760, or email today.

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