Have you even wondered about the origins of the office?  Gideon Haigh posits it is the ancient Egyptians that we have to thank.

A granary model found in the Tomb of Meketre containing little model scribes recording the outgoings and incomings of that particular establishment in ‘quite a sophisticated fashion’ is proffered as evidence.Image

Part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection, the model clearly shows activities that we recognise as office work.

Office work predates the office.  Specialised space is a more subsequent development proceeding from the monastery (segmentation of the day and specialisation of role) and mercantile trade (with its impulse to record and account).

The first major purpose built office was the Uffizi, Florence.


Somewhat cynically Haigh ascribes Cosimo I de’ Medici’s motivation for its commission to his desire ‘to create a sense that he was there even though he was not’ so he could pursue his hunting activities. That’s one hell of a decoy.