Offices in classical antiquity were often part of a palace complex or a large temple. The High Middle Ages saw the rise of the medieval chancery, which was usually the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom. With the growth of large, complex organizations in the 18th century, the first purpose-built office spaces were constructed.
As the Industrial Revolution intensified in the 18th and 19th centuries, the industries of banking, rail, insurance, retail, petroleum, and telegraphy dramatically grew, and a large number of clerks were needed, and as a result more office space was required to house these activities. However, by the midpoint of the 20th century, it became apparent that an efficient office required discretion in the control of privacy, and gradually the cubicle system evolved.