The History of Mobile Offices

What is the history of mobile offices?

The term may make you think of working remotely, while communicating or collaborating online or through the cloud.

While that’s true, there is another definition for mobile offices you may not be aware of.

Southwest Mobile Storage office

In this article, we’ll look at the history of mobile offices, what the term means, how these temporary and even permanent offices are being used today, and why shipping containers make great mobile offices.

History of Mobile Offices


First, let’s look at what exactly a mobile office is.

A mobile office is a prefabricated portable office, temporary storage space, or combination of the two.

Because the office is mobile, it can easily be moved from one location to another without issue.

This history of mobile offices is intertwined with the history of construction, which we wrote about in this blog.

It was on construction sites where the first mobile offices began to show up in the 1960s.

Also known as portable modular buildings, these offices were first used by contractors in 1961 and have continued to be a common staple on construction sites.

During the 1970s, after a growing interest in modular constructed homes, businesses began to see the benefits of prefabricated buildings and mobile offices.

The 1980s and 90s saw a rise in technology which helped keep these buildings secure, as well as helped them become better suited for different kinds of work.

Now that we’ve seen how mobile offices came to be, let’s look at how they are have been used and are being used today!

Using a Mobile Office


What can mobile offices be used for?

All kinds of things!

As mentioned, mobile offices started as temporary office spaces for contractors on construction sites.

But other business industries quickly saw the value of using them as well.

Customized container

For instance, suppose your current office building, floor, or department is under renovation. This could displace employees from their normal office environment.

However, with a mobile office, you could move that department into a temporary environment.

And because this is a mobile office, you can place it anywhere on your current business site or at another location.

Mobile offices can easily be set up to include familiar office features and equipment, such as:

  • Heating/air conditioning
  • Electricity & lights
  • Desks & chairs
  • Computer equipment
  • Phones
  • Whiteboards

And more!

The Rise of Technology for Mobile Offices

We first mentioned mobile offices as the term people think of when they describe working remotely or while ‘mobile’.

Thanks to the increased use of technology, like computers and smartphones, employees no longer have to be tied to a physical office.

Desktop Computer Set Up

When we talk about mobile offices, we’re talking about either a temporary or permanent office that can be mobile or portable.

Construction sites are a great example of this.

While the construction crew will be focused on building, the foreman or various managers may need an office environment to conduct business.

This can be anything from meetings with the crew or other personnel, collaborating with architects and engineers, working on reports, answering the phone and more.

But construction isn’t the only industry that uses mobile offices.

Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses can also use mobile offices.

These are great alternatives to renting or buying building space.

With a mobile office, a freelance programmer for example, can meet with clients, employees, or others in an office environment instead of their home or a coffee shop.

Temporary Workspace

Schools and other education facilities can also use mobile offices.

Construction during a remodel or renovation of a school can be noisy and displace students from their classrooms.

With a mobile office, students, teachers, and staff can concentrate on the lesson and not the noise or distraction of their remodel.

Why Shipping Containers Make Great Mobile Offices


Mobile offices began as prefabricated, modular buildings, often found on construction sites. While they can still be built in this manner, mobile offices have found another design foundation –

Shipping containers.

Southwest Mobile Storage Container Delivery

Here at Southwest Mobile Storage, we know a lot about shipping containers and our experts are often asked questions when it comes to using them for alternative purposes.

One of these purposes is creating mobile offices.

Taking the portability of mobile offices and combining it with the durability of shipping containers means there are a variety of different mobile options for set up, such as:

  • The Ability to customize or modify a container to a specific layout
  • Getting the perfect office space with a variety of container sizes
  • Moving an office to your preferred location
  • Availability of storage areas to keep items safe until needed
  • Opportunity for conference areas, along with office space using larger container sizes

As with modular mobile offices, shipping container mobile offices can be equipped with heating and air conditions, security doors and windows, shelving, and more.

In this article, we looked briefly at the history of mobile offices, what they can be used for and examples of their use, and why shipping containers make great mobile offices.

Mobile offices are more than just working on the go; they can be essential workspaces for businesses that need a physical environment for their employees and staff.

If you’re looking for a mobile office or even a temporary workspace, contact us today at 800.686.9114 and one of our experts will help you make the right decision!

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