Posted on May 27, 2015

Then and Now: Offices in 1985 vs. Today

With such a fast paced business world we often don’t see how small developments are changing the way we work in a big way. That is until we look back at where we were 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. How time flies!

Office Image has been transforming offices and other business premises for over 35 years now, so we thought we’d take a look back at offices 30 years ago compared to today. Whether you remember this decade fondly or you weren’t even born, you’ll be surprised how far we’ve come in office interior design in the last three decades.  

Open Plan Working Environments

The 80s saw a double-dip recession in many countries around the world and with this office dynamics changed. Open plan desks and cubicle seating became the hot new system of designing spaces.

Staff were highly valued, but most weren’t powerful enough to earn their own office, so lines of workstations sprung up quickly to give each independent worker their very own section of floor space.  

(image: Video Static)

Today in 2015, open plan offices are still popular. This design promotes staff interaction, boosts business innovation and provides companies with higher flexibility to accommodate evolving staffing needs. For most, however, lines of desks have been abolished and clusters of workstations are in. These foster creativity, plus it’s much easier to reach plugs this way! 

The Boss’ Private Office

In 2015, it’s commonplace for a business manager to have a desk on the floor with the rest of the staff. There’s a ‘one of us’ mentality and many bosses want to appear friendly and approachable. However, in larger multi-national companies the classic private office still rules roost.  

(image: Blu-ray)

Cool and slick with plenty of glass and minimalistic design, modern offices are the most upper class rooms in the building, but they’re less showy than those of yesteryear. Huge ornaments, high-glossed wood and the traditional partner’s desks are out of fashion for good.  

The Technology

Let’s face it, technology has come on leaps and bounds over the past 30 years. No longer are computers heavy, box like contraptions simply used for word processing and data handling. They’re now lightweight, small and permanently attached to our hips. We don’t go anywhere without our phones, laptops or tablets.

Today we’d be lost without the internet and it’s weird to think that it was only created in 1992 (Google is even newer. It was launched in 1998).

Technology has transformed the office environment and business world. Cloud storage means there’s no need for extensive document storage in endless filing cabinets and desks no longer have to hold immense weights thanks to more streamlined desktops. Office interior design specialists can now have more fun with spaces to create areas that are not only functional, but look great too.  

The Fashion

Finally, thankfully, we no longer dress like something out of Miami Vice or Dynasty…  

(images: Sodahead and Philips Modern America)


Is your office décor stuck in the past? Are your over-padded couches and strip lighting fixtures crying out for an update? Then let Office Image bring your business premises right up-to-date.

Check out our other blog posts for inspiration then give us a call on 02920 368585. We look forward to discussing your modern ideas very soon.

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