Evolving Office Space: What’s Next

April 24, 2014

The space and setup where we work shapes how we work. This concept has always played a role in corporate real estate and how we layout our workplaces. It also inspires new trends in workplace design.

One of the most influential shapers of the traditional office space is designer Robert Propst. In the 1960’s, Propst revealed his concept, the “Action Office”, commonly known and widely used today as the cubicle. The cubicle wasn’t designed to blockade people in. It was designed to liberate workers and therefore increase productivity.

According to,  “[Propst] was one of the first designers to argue that office work was mental work and that mental effort was tied to environmental enhancement of one’s physical capabilities.”

The corporate workforce quickly adapted the new workplace model. Over time, cubicle walls rose, colors dulled and amenities were cut to make room for more workspaces. Now, the very ideals that inspired the cubicle are being used to adapt them—flexibility, productivity and liberation.

In the article, How the Modern Office Shapes American Life, Rebecca Rosen notes that companies are shifting toward more low- or no-partitioned offices (open-plan office spaces), but for some employees, this may not be the answer. Communal tables or desks don’t knock down barriers and or solve office politics. Open-plan offices may create new problems, such as noise, visual and aural distractions, making headphones the new walls.


Offices need to be flexible. Flexibility is a more important than ever in an increasingly mobile workforce. Workstations are still a necessity. The walls are lowering, but they’re not going away. Multipurpose spaces are being used more for more informal meetings and collaborative workplaces.

Talk to one of our corporate real estate brokers about finding a space to facilitate your best workforce. Our team can help your business purchase a property or lease a space to set up your most productive workplace.