So a millennial walks into an office... how 7 years and 100s of office visits translate into the future of work
In my 12 years of traveling to different companies, I’ve seen an array of office space from old to new, plain to the extreme, bold to reserved, and elegant to cheap. From tech startups to Fortune 100 companies that have been around for 50+ years, space is very different. As humans, we are concerned with our surroundings; from our home to the people we associate with, we like to be surrounded by beauty. Why should our office space be different? We spend most of our lives in this space, why not make it great. I’m going to break up my thoughts around this into 3 different articles focused on 3 points: efficient space, technology in the office, and establishing a creative, kick ass environment. Let's talk efficient space...
First I want to discuss the office space from a millennial's perspective. Every day I come into an open office that has a ping pong table, double shot, slide, and a bunch of junk food on the mezzanine. My Macbook Pro goes almost everywhere I do, as well my iPhone gets more of my attention than my family does. Sad but true. I have 2 iPads, and my handwriting is getting worse every day. I can’t sit on the train without scrolling through my emails, slack, LinkedIn, and other social media. I am considered a mobile office, in my office. Even though I have my own desk, I skip around based upon who I need to work with that day, hour, or minute. I need a flexible space because my work is flexible. When considering what company to work for, 59% of millennials said that state-of-the-art technology was important to them in their decision. I LOVE TECH!
So, do I sell a solution that helps companies use their space more efficiently?!? Yes! But the nice thing about my job is I not only visit these offices, but evaluate them from floor to ceiling. Every detail matters to me about their space. For the last 3+ years in my current role, I have been involved in thousands of conversations around what bothers people about their space, how they would like to make changes, and use their space more efficiently. Before I was in this role I sold expensive video conferencing equipment for 4+ years, again, neck deep in evaluating office space and environments.
While you may question my experience and time as a millennial in the workforce, consider this:
- Most companies in the bay area that are leading this evolution have only been around for 5-10 years.
- I’m a millennial ;) I know more about new age tech/software then a lot of CTO’s out in the space still figuring out how to connect their tablet with their phone and PC.
- I’ve spent more time visiting other companies office space than I have my own. Most of you are the other way around.
- My customers are at the forefront of this change. I’ve worked in the SF bay area for over 7 years now.
Again, think of office space 10 years ago. Heck, think of technology 10 years ago. “The FaceBook”? Uber, Twitter, LinkedIn… who are they? Googleplex.. Awe, they have it so wrong over there… or did they? If I were a professional athlete, I would be in my prime. I am experiencing this change in office culture first hand. But my unique perspective is that I’m experiencing it in the eyes of the “Global Workplace manager” of LinkedIn, or the Director of IT at Uber.
So, enough about me, what about you? Do you like where you work? I’m not talking about the product you build, or the solution you sell, but really, do you like going into work every day? Does your employer create a winning environment?
Let us dig deeper into my question: Do you work in a winning environment? I’ll answer that question with 3 contributors I hear from customers of mine, highlighting the first in this article.
Is your office efficient?
I could go on and on about this, but does your employer provide you with a clean environment that allows you to be innovative in your role? Is your space conducive to the work you need to accomplish? For example, if you’re in an open office, has your employer provided the adequate amount of conference rooms or phone booths to get away and have a quiet conversation with customers or associates.
Do you know where things are in your space? Are you continuously asking yourself where different tech is? Or, “Where the hell is that conference room”? Digital signage is a new must. From monitors displaying floor plans, to tablets enabling wayfinding, directing employees to their next move is becoming more and more popular.
Enable your employees with new wayfinding technology to direct them around your space. This up and coming technology is gaining more momentum every day. People think it’s overly complicated, but really it isn’t. The positive impact it provides the large enterprise is astonishing. I was recently in a large company, won’t name any names, but it’s likely you’re reading this from one of their monitors... Anyways, the employee adoption of this tool is incredible. If you’re in IT, you love the “win” technologies out there. Meaning, when you work your ass off to implement something, you hardly get validated in your work because a lot of technology is yes, essential, but boring and behind the scenes. Some feedback I received from the previously mentioned company is the fact that they love walking around and seeing reps using the app to take them around their space. But it doesn’t end there, they can then book rooms/space from their phone simply by walking in.
In my role as an Enterprise Account Executive, I must have an organized space. Ultimately, it isn’t enough to just provide the space for our employees today, but we must empower them to be successful by making sure our space is top of the line. I challenge you in your role to start at your desk. Make sure it’s clean, efficient, and doesn’t bog you down. Next, challenge your associates to do the same. Then challenge the powers to be to make your space more efficient. My next article I will talk about how state-of-the art technology not only compliments an efficient workplace, but enables your employees to be their best.