In 1980 the age of information was in full swing as far as financial institutions were concerned. Unlike many other industries at the time bankers and Wall Street traders relied heavily on computers long before most offices were using them. Even with all the technology at their fingertips, financial traders in 1980 were handling a lot of paper files and using 2 phones at once -a phone in each hand- to communicate with as many clients as possible. In the high pressure world of the foreign exchange market, traders were chasing the best exchange rate each and every day- and at speeds that were incredibly fast for the era.
Today we have fully digital financial centers that have changed how people do business. The floor of the stock exchange can still be very bustling today, but back then most trader offices were extremely busy all the time owing to a more complicated set-up involving phones, electronic ticker tape, paper files, and early computers. The office below even had a track for moving paper files along the top of the desks more quickly! It was an intense job, but people who stayed often loved the fast pace of the work.
Have a look at how workers on Wall Street did their jobs back in 1980.