• Ministry of New

A Brief Evolution of the Office

For many, the office is only fun when it involves Steve Carell. The modern-day workspace has evolved over centuries to be something that is supposed to heighten and enhance productivity but often does the complete opposite. Between noisy neighbours and eye-scathing white lights, conventional offices have evolved into the stuff of nightmares. But how did this evolution happen and most importantly, who can we blame?

The 16th-18th Century

If you go back to the Medieval ages, we see monks choosing to sit in small cubicles where they could focus on their work versus working from home of coffee houses, which was the most common ‘office’ at the time. In 1726 the The Old Admiralty Office is built in London to handle the growing amount of paperwork of the expanding British Empire and can be considered the first real office.


This is one guy you might be able to blame for all your office woes. He was obsessed with efficiency and in the early 1900s decided that workspaces should have a completely open layout with strict lines of desks. Managers were separated from their subordinates and that’s where your corporate prisons evolved from.


Though Taylorism became increasingly poular, a few Germans weren’t happy with is and developed something called the Office Landscape. This allowed a more natural flow of information and people and encouraged collaboration. The spaces used curved walls and plants as partitions in order to provide people with privacy but still allowing communication. This model became popular in the early 60s and spread through Northern Europe.

The Action Office

An offshoot of the Office Landscape was Robert Propst’s Action Office which took the ideas of productivity and collaboration to the next level. The Action Office used modular furniture, moveable partitions, integrated storage and multi-level workstations to promote ‘action’ in the office. Unfortunately, this format became too expensive to replicate and most of the benefits of the Action Office were lost over time.

The Cubicle

That dreaded, dreaded word is actually a child of the Action Office (which we were just beginning to like). Companies used the modular aspects of the Action Office but made them more economical and efficient creating a by-product of Taylorism and the Action Office.


Today, you can potentially find an office to suit every personality. From very corporate spaces to more open, creative ones. With technological advances many of us don’t even have to sit out of one particular office and are able to work remotely, from home or beautiful coworking spaces like Ministry of New.

Coworking at the Ministry of New

For us work should be something you enjoy and we try to make that happen with bright, spacious rooms; cozy communal areas; events that connect you with your coworking community and a great team that is always ready to help. To learn more about what we do, please visit


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