In the 1950s, companies started using the "bullpen" style of office layout. It was designed to ensure that there was a strict hierarchy (managers had offices), and employees were clearly visible across the floor.
This style of office transitioned in the 1970s to a cubicle style layout, which allowed more privacy and personalised work areas. Cubicles helped improve worker satisfaction, following from an increase in workplace research and the rise of psychology as a profession.
The 1990s saw the rise of the open plan layout, which promoted flat hierarchies, creativity and open communication. This became increasingly important as work moved from the desk on to the desktop, isolating workers from their team in the process.
So what's next for the workplace? The 2010s is seeing an explosive rise in flexible workplaces. Driven by millennials increasingly concerned with work/life balance, access to travel, and communication tools such as Knack, the office of the future is one that exists at home, in co-working spaces, and anywhere that comfort exists.