The typewriter -- and to some extent the pen and paper -- belongs to a different era in office history. Since the 1980s, the advent of the computer has revolutionized the design of the office.
The modern office has an open plan layout with few divisions. While traditional offices had rows of desks all facing the same way, the modern layout has desks facing in different directions, including each other. According to attorney Peter Rouse in "Every Relationship Matters," this reflects the equality of relationships in modern work environments, with less emphasis on a hierarchy of power.
Advances in technology have shaped the development of the modern office. Desks have become "workstations," with desktop computers or laptops connected to a network of other PCs in the same office and beyond. Communication is digital, via email and webcam, as well as using the traditional methods, such as the telephone.
Designers create modern office furniture and technology with attention to ergonomics, which is engineering for health and safety in the workplace. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety names computer mouse design, ergonomic chairs and sloping seats as ways engineers have designed to avoid health risks such as repetitive strain injury and back pain.