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The “Action Office”

The office workers through the last few decades have had to make deal with small cramped office cubicles and not so good office chairs. Small and cramped enough to hear the whispers from a neighbouring cubicle yet large enough to spread your arms to elbow length. There has been a rise in the use of open plan offices and environments and clusters of desks in more shapes than just rectangular and can fit more than 4 work stations to a group of desks.

It seems that the idea of this however has been around for more than 40 years but has only really been seen implemented in the last 10. The idea was thought up by Herman Miller in 1968 and was originally dubbed the “Action Office” the office of the future.

The “Action Office” image 1

This concept was first completed in Ann Arbor in 1968 by a team that was headed by Robert Propst. This type of office was created in order to meet the needs of many different individuals no matter what type of industry or business you were in as well as trying to move away from the current trends in office furniture.

Propst wrote about this in his book where he described how he wanted to remove the boundaries of uniformity and bring individuality in the office to help promote productivity: "The renewed rise of individuality as a value and the great diversity in what one may be required to do in an office does not allow a continuation of sterile uniformity ..."

It was after this that people began to see the office cubicle as a dehumanising place to work and the revolution against the idea of trying to fit as many people in one space as possible was born.

Nowadays we are more about creating individual workspaces and giving employees space to increase morale and productivity among staff, and it appears to be working as year on year, we are spending more and more time in the office.

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