Over the latter part of the 20th century, a number of different office desk arrangements were developed. Some layouts have offices in separate rooms, and some have a more open plan arrangement. The layout of a workplace depends largely on the nature of the business, and the requirement for interaction between employees.
Traditional desk arrangements include separate offices with walls and doors for those in authority. Workers on the lower rungs of the career ladder often sit away from the offices in an open-plan desk layout, either with or without partitions.
A more modern desk arrangement is an open-plan layout, where each employee sits at desks partitioned by dividers that only rise a few inches above the level of the desk. This allows easy communication between colleagues and staff members. Each desk has a computer and a telephone, with printers shared between workers.
Companies that are looking to make the most efficient use of space will employ a cubicle farm layout, rows of desks with partitions that in some cases rise to ceiling level. Aisles periodically separate the cubicles for access, egress and the communication of employees. Each cubicle has a single desk with one computer and a phone line. Printers are often shared between two or more cubicles. This arrangement makes the best use of floor space, but workers can feel as if they are robots and some may miss colleague interaction.
Some businesses looking to maximize the floor space of the office may adopt a "hot desk" arrangement, where two or more employees share the same office space at different times of the day or week.