Offices have drastically changed throughout the years. And, for a lot of employees, they believe the advancements are for the better. Offices no longer have old school supplies and many have loosened its dress codes. Now, many employees can walk into the office wearing jeans and a graphic t-shirt on a Tuesday, and important phone numbers are organized on a handy-dandy cellphone and not a Rolodex. Get ready; these office supplies and etiquette are about to bring you back in time.
Stock Tickers Used To Be Paper
If you wanted to check on the stock market back in the day, you wouldn’t log on to financial news sites and watch the ticker on the bottom of the screen. Instead, if a company needed the most current numbers, they would go to their stock ticker.
These nifty machines would spit out figures in real-time, so a company was always up to speed with the market. Thankfully, we’re saving many trees with people utilizing computers instead of the old school machines.
Water Cooler Hangouts Are Now Virtual
Long gone are the days of water cooler hangouts. Now, people bring personal water bottles to work. The daily grind is also hectic, and people have a hard time stopping to catch up on the latest gossip.
Instead, we’re lucky to have coffee pot meetups in the morning before everyone opens their email for the day. But once everyone is back at their desks, the “hangouts” are virtual and on systems such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.
A Trackball Computer Mouse Was Once Futuristic Looking
Once upon a time, trackball computer mice looked so weird and futuristic sitting next to desktop computers. The big red ball was so odd, and nothing looked quite like it. At least, nothing that was found in an office setting.
Now, we realize how strange the trackball mice really were. Seriously, who thought that a huge ball was a simpler way of navigating a computer? It’s way less accurate and takes more time to learn how to use it correctly. Well, we lived, and we learned.
Pen Tray Holders Used To Adorne Every Desk
If you look at pictures of old offices, you might notice a specific something adorning a vast majority of the desks, especially those of the higher-ups. Pen tray holders were a commodity that said: “I’m so important that I have a holder for my writing instrument.”
Of course, the holders did look beautiful on the edge of the desks. But, as a lot of office supplies, pen tray holders went out of style when virtual communications replaced physical writing.
Fax Machines Live To Collect Dust And Cobwebs
Before you say “wait, my company has a fax machine in the office,” ask yourself how many times you’ve actually used it or have seen someone else use it. Since email became a thing, fax machines are all but antiques collecting dust and building a collection of cobwebs in the darkest corners of the office.
Those unlucky co-workers who sit by the ancient machine probably remember a time when dial-up was a constant sound and telling people the fax number was a daily occurrence.
Rolodex To Organize Phone Numbers
Gasp, way back when people didn’t have smartphones, or cellphones in general, to store phone numbers. Nope, they had a handy dandy Rolodex on their office desk. These nifty items were the original phone books, and you’d be hard-pressed to walk through an office without seeing at least one per desk.
Of course, if you happen upon one of these old school contact organizers, it’s most likely in storage waiting for its turn to be thrown into the recycling bin.
Hat Racks Are A Thing Of The Past
Imagine walking into the office, taking off your nice trench coat and hat, and placing them on a coat and hat rack, respectively. It’s a very old school office item and something that is rarely, if ever, seen today.
Not to mention, people hardly ever wear hats to the office anymore. We mean, come on, bolo hats are a bit out of style now, and those are the only appropriate hats ever to be put on a rack.
Calculators Have Become More Rare
If you work in an office, when is the last time you’ve seen a physical calculator lying around? It’s not a common office supply anymore. Which, honestly, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead of spending company funds on calculators, the budget can be utilized elsewhere.
Mostly everyone has either a smartphone or computer, both of which have a calculator application, anyway. Jokes on the teachers who said we’d never have a calculator in our pocket!
Telex Machines, AKA The OG Text Messaging System
If you’ve ever wondered what people in the office did to relay quick messages to one another, let us be the first to introduce you to the Telex Machines, aka the original text message.
These machines would transmit messages via radio signals or electricity and then print out a copy of the message on a machine in a different location. Is it practical? No. Was it a huge milestone at the time of its invention? Sure.
Carbon Copy Paper Used To Duplicate Important Messages
Would you believe that before CCing people in emails became common practice, people used to use carbon paper to duplicate important messages? Of course, “CC” stands for carbon copy, so it kind of makes sense that the old-timey way of duplicating messages included “CC paper.”
But imagine going to your desk in the morning and having to find your carbon copy paper to duplicate a message for your manager. Thankfully, we have a little something called email now.
Secretary Pools Are Being Phased Out By Computers
In 1961, a magazine called Secretary Today predicted secretaries of the future wouldn’t have to go into work until noon, and they would be able to take long vacations. The time off due to the advancements in technology, namely the computer.
As it turns out, the magazine wasn’t too far off with its prediction. Secretary pools are extinct, and executive assistants are all but phased out because of the virtual world.
Step Aside Drip Coffee Machine And Make Way For The Keurig
If your office has a drip coffee pot, then it’s one of the few. Nowadays, it’s all about the touchscreen machines and Keurigs. Of course, environmentalists aren’t about the K-Cups, but once the reusable cups came into the picture, all bets were off.
The newer machines make sense, though. Now, employees don’t have to wait for a pot of coffee to brew. They’re able to press a few buttons and have a single cup of sanity brewed within a minute.
Who Needs Rotary Phones When There Are Company Cells?
Sorry to inventor Almon Brown Strowger on his technological breakthrough, but the spinning number dial on rotary phones is probably one of the most time-consuming things we’ve ever seen. Were buttons too much to ask for in 1904?
Regardless, you’re not going to see these phones lying around modern-day offices. Instead, people’s desks have landlines with a ridiculous amount of buttons, including transfer options and “lines 1-10.” And if you’re really lucky, your company might even give you a cellphone!
Weekly Meetings With The Boss Can Be A Waste Of Time
There was once a time when meetings with your boss were commonplace. Whether it be a one-on-one conference or gathering with the entire team, updates on new company initiatives and procedures were very typical in the workplace.
Now, companies are beginning to realize those types of meetings aren’t necessary on a weekly basis. Employees’ time is better utilized doing their actual jobs. So, instead of face-to-face meetings, email memos are becoming more common.
Interoffice Envelopes Are Being Replaced By Virtual Communications
Before email, DocuSign, and Adobe virtual singing, there were these ancient-looking manila envelopes that circulated around the office. Oh, and the only thing holding the envelope together was a tiny string wrapped around a button that looked like it was about to fall off.
Yes, interoffice envelopes were quickly replaced by emails and other forms of virtual communications. That way, documents find the correct desk and aren’t sitting on Janet’s desk in accounting.
The Three-Piece Suit Is Rarely Seen
Once upon a time, if you wanted to be taken seriously as a professional, you had to take the phrase “dress to impress” very seriously. That meant wearing a three-piece suit. And if you had very high ambitions, a tailored suit.
Thankfully, a lot of companies no longer require the professional dress code. Now, business casual dress is more common in the workplace. Some offices even allow jeans and graphic t-shirts, and not just on Fridays!
Cubicles Are Being Replaced By Agile Workspaces
A stereotypical office layout tends to be a floor of cubicles. And while employees liked having their own area in the office, the design is phasing out very quickly. Now, it isn’t uncommon to walk into an office and see an open layout or something called an “agile workspace.”
Think the Google headquarters, well, minus the slide. The younger generations prefer the open space over sitting in a stuffy cube all day.
CDs Holding Important Office Files Are Now In Clouds
Back in the day, people would have multiple CDs holding their important company documents and files. It was the “hip” thing to do and having multiple CDs most likely meant you were pretty important.
With the invention of Dropbox and all of the “clouds,” no one needs to carry around a binder full of what looks like mixed-tapes. If you see a CD in the office, we’d bet a nice chunk of change; it has nothing to do with the company.
Chalkboards Are Seen As Relics
Chalkboards were great ways to jot down ideas quickly, especially in a world where office “computers” were nothing more than bulky typewriters. Then, whiteboards were invented, and employees no longer had to worry about getting chalk all over their hands and clothing.
From there, smart boards, and finally, televisions with screen share options that made meetings more efficient and collaborative. Now, if there is a chalkboard in an office space, it’s most likely used as a magnet board for posters.
The Coveted Corner Office If Now The Coveted Working From Home
Scene: you walk into the office on your first day, you see the coveted corner office with a whole lot of windows, and you sit in your cubicle, wishing you were the executive with all that space. The ambition of those workers is admirable, but, ironically, the corner office has turned into something different.
That office has turned into being allowed to work from home. No longer do employees really care about acquiring the big corner office. Now, they just want to be comfortable at home.