Today's workforce looks different from how it once looked. Women made up 47% of the workforce in 2019, compared to 42% in 1979, according to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the same time period, the nonwhite fraction of all American workers grew from 12% to 22%, and the Hispanic portion grew from 5% to 18%.
Firmspace compiled information about the history and trends in workplace culture and real estate from experts and news sources. The shifts haven't all been related to people. Workspace norms, cultures, and trends aren't linear and often overlap.
Open offices, for instance, have come and gone well before they become popularized (once again) in the 2010s. And the COVID-19 pandemic did not invent the idea of remote work—where and how people gathered to work has for years included on-sites, off-sites, and messaging apps. The topics here are examples of trends, rather than definitive beginnings and ends of them.
Read on to learn about 10 ways workspaces and office culture have evolved.