There’s something awfully sombre about the modern office. We’ve moved into the futuristic information age, but the future just doesn’t seem to be as glamorous as the 1950s and 60s made out. Offices just aren’t as good as they used to be, and here are a few reasons why.
Less water cooler chat, more work
Of course, we’re all here to work. But when you’re working nine to five, you need to take a few short breaks over the day to prevent going a bit bonkers from the boredom. In the golden age of the office, there were more opportunities to break away and have a chat about the news, or last night’s television. Taking a break away from a computer screen decreases stress and lessens the chances for eyestrain and headaches – stepping away from the desk and nattering about the soaps just might be good for your health.
There may be less chat in the office now, but there are definitely more distractions than there used to be. The distraction is sitting right there on your desktop – the internet. Email messaging, social networking, instant news, online encyclopaedias, video services… you promise you’ll only look for five minutes, and it always spreads out to fifteen minutes, twenty, perhaps even an hour. Before the internet, it was easier to just get on with what you had to do without trawling for pictures of funny cats.
Yeah, computers are great. Yeah, smartphones are great. Yeah, tablets are great. But they’re awfully finicky, aren’t they? You press one button they don’t like, or you do one little thing that they find difficult, and they decide they’re not going to work. Say what you like about pen and paper, at least they’re not temperamental.
Sure, computers have spelling and grammar checks to help us all out, but there is something rather beautiful about a typewriter. The design is wonderful and let’s be honest, they make the greatest sound in the world – you really feel like you’re getting work done with a typewriter.
No more telephone switchboards
We all have telephones with us wherever we go, whether we like it or not. It’s all very convenient to be able to contact anyone, anytime, but it does represent a distinct loss of privacy. With a switchboard, there’s forewarning as to who exactly is trying to get in contact with you. You can ask people to take down messages for you, avoiding the problem of missing voicemail and dropping calls. And there will be a whole room of women with weird headsets, dressed immaculately and talking faster than human comprehension.
How people dress
Let’s face it – people don’t dress as interestingly as they used to, especially in offices. Smart casual, business casual, casual casual… it’s a world of discount polyester, Next jumpers and no-need-to-iron shirts. What happened to the sharp suits of the sixties? What happened to the brightly coloured jackets with huge shoulder pads? Offices in days gone by featured a brilliant showcase of unique fashions. Let’s all be less Maurice Moss and a bit more Joan Harris when it comes to dressing for work.