Have you ever imagined how your office would function five decades ago? Of course, you must take account of the new office inventions. That must be weird! Interestingly, technology gave birth to most inventions that changed the workplace recently. And its evolution is yet to slow down. Hence, more office inventions that would change the way we work are yet to come. From the 1857 Otis elevator to a five-day workweek, workplace layout, and the personal computer, the story of workplace inventions continues.
Here are 5 new inventions in our offices that have changed the way we work –
1. Coworking – 2005
Brad Neuberg invented coworking in 2005, somewhere in San Francisco. The idea was to enable independent workers (freelancers) to enjoy the company of other workers in the same office space while sharing the same value. The movement became successful and he coined the word “coworking” without a hyphen to represent it.
Impact: Several coworking companies have taken the concept to the mainstream to provide shared workspaces for startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses, etc.
2. Cloud-based SaaS – 2002
The first cloud-based software as a service facilities management system introduced by Don Traweek and Elizabeth Dukes in 2002 has changed a lot in the way we work. Launched as iOffice and referred to as IWMS since 2009, the services enable offices in different locations to share resources such as hardware and operational framework via the internet.
Impact: Employers are able to remain competitive and to manage their offices more efficiently without multiple instructions, aside from being able to tackle several challenges using a single solution.
3. Slack – 2013
Founded by Stewart Butterfield, Slack is another cloud-based technology designed to provide swift in-house messaging, emailing and conference talk among employees. It offers IRC-like features such as static chat rooms organized based on their topics, etc.
Impact: Communication among employees is a lot easier without having to exchange personal contacts. Slack enable easier work collaboration, emailing and have truncated the distance between team members.
4. Smart devices – 1992
First introduced by IBM in 1992, the first smart device, Simon Personal Communicator (smartphone) gave rise to the invention of smart devices which has changed a lot about the way we work today. Smart devices control workplace security systems, unlock doors, smart thermostat, provide directions, and to access remote offices using a portable standalone device.
Impact: Smart devices are one of the office inventions that have changed our work environment and eliminate unnecessary tasks such as the control of office appliances. Until in the 2000s, the workplace was not able to benefit much from smart devices. But the invention has by far changed how we work.
5. Aeron chair – 1994
Herman Miller made a significant breakthrough, which has seen to the invention of other office chairs when he developed a transformative desk seat – a chair that can be adjusted into several forms. Aeron chair invented in 1994 has helped popularized ergonomic design developed for comfort and performance purpose.
Impact: The fact that Aeron chair supported employees’ health makes it one of the all-time inventions that changed the workplace. While replicas of the chair are now everywhere, the design represents one of the best-selling office chairs. Employees are able to work for longer hours seating on the Aeron.
With several inventions still coming to change the workplace, the most promising area positioned to overhaul the entire work process is definitely going to be technology or artificial intelligence. But one thing is sure: the workplace is constantly changing; the new inventions come to displace the old systems and eventually become part of our work routine.