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Office Furniture Around the Globe

If you’ve ever gone on a trip far away from home, you know how strange it can be to realize that the things we consider “normal” are actually very particular to our place and time. Take, for example, breakfast foods, cars, even business casual — all are different, depending on your country and culture. Even office furniture varies greatly from place to place. Here’s what you might find on each of the world’s seven continents.

1. North America

Our office furniture is rarely outside, however.

Our office furniture is rarely outside, however.

It’s an exciting time to be picking out office furniture in North America. That’s because we have more choices in terms of office layout and equipment than ever before. Need flexibility and cost savings? An open plan office might be right for you. Want more privacy, but still need the ability to change things if needed? Cubicles might be the perfect choice.

2. South America

It took us forever to translate this from Spanish and/or Portuguese.

It took us forever to translate this from Spanish and/or Portuguese.

Office furniture doesn’t vary much south of the equator, but what does vary is corporate culture, which is very different business to business and country to country. Most experts agree that work environments in South America are simultaneously more hierarchical and more relaxed — which means that the boss is the boss, but that assignment that’s due on the 15th might come in on the 20th with much less fallout than it would up north.

3. Europe

Pictured: An office in London. We assume the TARDIS is right around the corner.

Pictured: An office in London. We assume the TARDIS is right around the corner.

Ah, Europe: If the only thing this continent ever gave the world of office furniture was IKEA, it’d be enough. But Europe has also been at the forefront of the office plan revolution. Cubicle sizes had been shrinking in Europe for years before they started getting smaller over here, and many European companies have enthusiastically adopted open plan offices.

4. Africa

Also, we're pretty sure it's called football in Africa.

Also, we’re pretty sure it’s called football in Africa.

Again, it’s hard to say just what African offices look like, since Africa is comprised of 54 countries and is the second largest continent on the planet. It’s also a fast-growing area of the world in terms of business. So depending on the business, offices and office furniture might look pretty much the same as they do in North America — only with about 100 percent more soccer-themed decorations.

5. Asia

We still see some ceiling tiles up there. Nice try, previous tenants.

We still see some ceiling tiles up there. Nice try, previous tenants.

Did you know that in China, companies which leave an office space take everything with them when they go? The good news is that this means that you get a clean slate. The bad news is that you’ll have to fill it.

6. Australia

Personally, we'd just work at the beach all the time.

Personally, we’d just work at the beach all the time.

Work culture in Australia is pretty much the opposite of South American corporate culture: here, it’s important to be on time, but hierarchy is spectacularly unimportant. Australians enjoy a good work-life balance, as well, so you’ll probably see plenty of pictures of weekend trips and social outings adorning people’s desks.

7. Antarctica

Seriously. Very, very cold.

Seriously. Very, very cold.

In Antarctica, it’s so cold we doubt anyone cares what type of office furniture they use, as long as it comes with a heater.

Of course, if you are moving to a faraway land, but want to keep the office furniture you’re used to, Arnolds Office Furniture can make that happen for you. We ship internationally and would be pleased to help you recreate a little slice of home in your new location. Contact us for more information.

Images: Office Now/Flickr, Valerie Everett/Flickr, arenagroove/Flickr, andrepierre/Flickr, markhillary/Flickr, limaoscarjuliet/Flickr, us_embassy_newzealand/Flickr

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