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A Quick History of The Office


It might surprise you, but the office isn’t a modern concept. It’s actually been around for a lot longer than people think. You’ll find offices in almost every town or city around the world. It’s a place where people gather to work and there’s a rich history to how this came about.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What’s in a name?

The etymology of the word ‘office’ derives from the Latin word ‘officium’, which means “service” or “courtesy”.

The period before and during Ancient Rome had the first real form of an office. Palaces and temples would have small rooms where scribes could do their work in peace. When the Roman Empire was built, rooms were created that dignitaries, registrars and chiefs of staff would reside in to fulfil their duties. Which is pretty much the basic tenant of the office. So when we ask “What have the Romans ever done for us?”, we can say this at least.

Moving ahead….

However, it is sad to note that the office in this form was lost to time after the fall of Rome. It was only around the Middle Ages that the office began to take a familiar shape again. Known as a chancery, it referred to the partitions that divided a section of a court or church.

Around the 13th Century was the first time that the term ‘office’ was actually used. It was by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales and as business ventures grew due to the world becoming much smaller through discovery, the need for offices became to rise.

Modern times

From the 18th Century onwards, the office was a familiar sight, usually located close to the actual business, which in these early times were mainly oil, insurance, banking and retail industries.

Whilst in earlier office environments, people worked without direct supervision, studies showed that managers needed a more direct role when directing workers. Other innovations soon followed, including the modern flat desk and the ‘action office’ layout. This evolved into the modern cubicle form of office we know today.

Offices, in all shapes and sizes, have one function; for workers to perform their tasks as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Here at Ransom Wood we can offer you office space in a unique woodland environment.  Give us a call to see how we can help you create a perfect space for you and your team.

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Google Reviews


  • clair meade

    19/12/2023

    Brilliant place. Nature. Trees. Bliss.

  • Dirk R De Boer

    26/10/2023

    The old hospital, now a business centre, lots of parking, great surroundings

  • Sarah Dean

    16/05/2023

    Beautiful peaceful location. A hidden gem!

  • Derek Scott

    08/05/2023

    Very busy. All types of business are there

  • Neil Holmes

    31/01/2023

    A great venue

  • Sarah Beaumont

    15/12/2022

    This is such a beautiful setting for an office. Lovely & peaceful and the Ransomwood team are excellent! The maintenance team are always around if needed, great internet facilities and a fabulous café onsite too. I would highly recommend this place if you are looking for premises in the area.

  • Susan Pagdin

    02/12/2022

  • Alan Benton

    28/11/2022

    Nice place for a business meeting

  • 1ndyskies

    15/09/2022

    I was on a speed awareness course at Ransom Hall, so not the ideal situation. The place however looked lovely. Very tranquil.

  • Ann Revill

    09/08/2022

    Lovely animals to watch and birds

  • Melvin Crofts

    30/05/2022

    Lovely place

  • Paul Gillon

    13/12/2021

    A well maintained business grounds with 100s of offices and a restaurant in the centre. Speed controlled and beautiful woodland surroundings, this place seems to be consistently upgrading.

  • Gareth Childs

    03/09/2021

    Great park to host a business

  • Dave Watts

    17/08/2021

    Love this place

  • Maxine Dillon

    15/07/2021

    We rent an office here and it’s just such a lovely place to drive into everyday

  • Chris Kho

    22/06/2021

    Still love to walk around. I used to live in the big house at the top of the drive, it was Oak House then and I nursed at Ransom Hospital , Byron Ward which was on the left side of Ransom Hall car park. Oak House used to be Sisters accommodation. I think the main chef lived upstairs when I lived there and just me downstairs mostly. I loved it but had to keep my kitchen door closed because of the squirrels. Loved looking down the drive out of my bedroom and lounge windows, beautiful in Autumn and when it snowed, I worked at Ransom Hospital until it closed in 1987. Wonder why Oak House was later named Ash House? Lovely dining at Forever Green in the grounds whilst I reminisce.

  • Tony Lewis

    20/05/2021

    Absolutely spot on as regards setting up a virtual office. Really friendly and helpful reception staff, with onsite meeting rooms available if needed. Very pleased.

  • Matthew Sheppard

    07/03/2021

    Beautiful

  • John Redfern

    20/07/2020

    Good food

  • David Draper

    25/02/2020

    Great place for taking pets a walk, lovely cafe with meeting rooms.

  • Pete Edwards

    08/02/2020

    A great place

  • Daryl Statham-waring

    20/11/2019

    Brilliant place, they have all sorts of businesses there. A cafe, hypnotherapy, hypnopuncture as well many others. Worth a drive up just to see what's there. Furthermore, it's in lovely surroundings.

  • Jo Harris

    13/10/2019

    Just go there and walk for miles! Beautiful views from strawberry hill too.

  • Philip Merry

    04/08/2018

    Go experience

  • victoria chandler

    28/06/2018

    Great place,hidden away

  • T Butler

    24/05/2018

    Set in beautiful woodland.. a very relaxing place to work.

  • Bec Ward

    12/03/2018

    Very tranquil here, feel at real ease could get lost in my own thoughts

  • S Curran

    17/01/2018

    Lots of meeting rooms. Follow signes not sat nav to find entrence as its moved. Plenty of parking.

  • Andy long

    03/12/2017

    Nice business offices and restaurant

  • Robert West

    05/02/2017

    Love it. Great setting, and reasonable rents.

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