Past & Present – 5 Fascinating Ways Office Culture Has Changed in the Last 50 Years

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A lot has changed over the past 50 years in terms of office culture. While some shifts were widely publicized – such as the fact that workers can no longer smoke at their desks – many others have flown under the radar. 

Though they’ve had a positive impact on the workplace and the way we do business, the following five shifts in office culture haven’t received the attention they deserve:

The Rise of Decentralized And Remote Workforces

One of the biggest changes, which has no doubt had its timeline advanced due to the pandemic, is the shift towards decentralized and remote workforces. This is great for employees that require more flexibility in their working arrangements and has also led to the rise of virtual offices

These setups allow businesses to save a significant amount of money that would otherwise have gone to maintaining a large office. Though employees don’t share a physical space, the virtual office keeps them connected with their coworkers. 

Technology Is More Integrated 

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for there to be little to no high tech tools within an office environment. Fast-forward fifty years and our smartphones can do far more than an old desktop ever could. Workplaces all over the world adopted these technological shifts and used them to the advantage of both the company and its employees. This has greatly improved efficiency and created many new jobs and specialty areas.

Creativity Is Valued More

Another major shift is that creativity is far more valued in the workplace than it was 50 years ago. With the invention of software tools that can take care of day to day tasks such as AP automation, employees are able to focus their energy on other things which require a more human touch. 

This shift is most obvious within marketing and communications departments. Because next to nothing is ever truly new these days, businesses must find creative ways to promote their products or services, opening the way for those in creative roles to dream big and let their ideas run free.

IT Departments Are Shrinking (But IT Workers Are Benefiting)

In other departments, in-house teams are shrinking. In terms of IT, for example, many smaller companies are now outsourcing their requirements to managed service providers in order to shave a bit off their wages budget. While this may seem like a blow to those in the field, it’s actually beneficial to IT staff as there is often more room for both professional growth and wage rises when working in an agency environment. 

We’re Seeing More Equality 

Finally, and possibly most importantly, we’re seeing a lot more equality in the office. It wasn’t that long ago that women and people of colour were still openly discriminated against when it came to employment opportunities, but as society has advanced, workplace culture has come along for the ride. 

While the tradition of the upper management boys club does still exist, it is a lot easier now for women to break the glass ceiling. People of color are also seeing improvements in their working conditions. In fact, there are now even dedicated inclusive employment programs working towards a better future for all. 

We still have a long way to go in certain industries and parts of the world, but any steps in the right direction are good ones, and this shift should be celebrated. 

Which of these shifts do you think has had the most benefit? Let us know in the comments. 

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