How Offices Have Changed in the 21st Century

How Offices Have Changed in the 21st Century

  • 12th January 2018

The 20th century saw a huge change in how offices looked and functioned from the all-male ranks of clerks when Victoria was still (just) on the throne to the newly computerised offices facing the new millennium and wondering if the web was a passing fad.

The 21st Century

Even over the last 18 years the office, and how we do business, has changed yet again. Modern office space needs to be fully accessible, have high-speed internet and much more is being done by computer. Even how we interact with our clients has changed. Instead of a glossy brochure there’s a flashy website. Instead of a salesman there’s social media.

The paperless office

Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been in the reduction of the amount of paper used in offices. Letters have been replaced by emails and application forms have been replaced by web forms. Even a lot of the processing of such paperwork is automated with web forms going straight into the system without ever being processed by a human.

This means that much more “paperwork” is stored in computer systems and “fetching a file” involves accessing a customer database instead of a trip to the filing room. Business need offices that provide high quality data infrastructure – the excuse “the computer is playing up” will send customers looking for a more reliable supplier.

Social Sales

Back in 2000, fresh from the damp squib of the Y2K bug, social media was chat rooms, usenet and a few pioneer bloggers. Facebook was still four years away and Twitter came two years after that. Now it’s perhaps the single biggest channel for communication with your clients. Social Media Marketing demands a reliable connection to the outside world as customers approaching you through those channels expect an almost instantaneous response to their query. Modern offices come with fibre-optic connections to provide smooth, high-speed connections to your client base.


In the year 2000 the Disability Discrimination Act was still pretty new and businesses were still getting their heads around it’s ramifications. Businesses need modern office space with lift or level access, wide well-surfaced corridors, good lighting and so on to meet the legislative demands of the Equality Act 2010 that covers not only the rights of the disabled but also those of anyone with a “protected characteristic”. Modern office space needs to be adaptable and accessible to allow modern businesses to be as inclusive as possible.