What Millennials Want in Office Design and Culture
Does this description sound like your current office? Cubicles as far as the eye can see, gray carpet on the floor and covering the cubicle walls, a few corner offices, beige-colored walls, fluorescent lighting. If the answer is "yes," you’re in need of an office redesign, one that encourages collaboration rather than isolation.
Younger Workers Are Less Likely to Prefer Traditional Offices
In 2015, millennials made up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, powering over the Gen Xers at 53.5 million strong, and that number is only going to continue rising during the next several years.
Millennials are the ones leading teams and contributing creative ideas that take their companies above their competitors, so you probably want them on your payroll. But in order to attract and retain a millennial workforce – the innovative employees your company is in need of – you have to understand what they want in terms of office design and culture. And then you have to create that combination.
Two of the top factors millennials look for in a potential employer are office environment and work culture. If you want to provide an environment and culture that motivates your potential millennial employees, here’s what you need to do.
1. Empower Collaboration With an Open Office
Closed-up cubes and corner offices prevent collaboration and the flow of information, and millennials like working with, sharing ideas and learning from others. This generation believes a collaborative office culture is the key to innovation.
Break away from the traditional office layout and invest in a more open floor plan. Get rid of those private offices to eliminate creative barriers.
While you’re at it, bring in furniture that accommodates a variety of work styles: adjustable-height desks, so employees don't have to sit all day; and maybe a few yoga balls to replace traditional office chairs. Freestanding dividers like bookshelves or even plant "walls" can be beneficial to your introverted employees who might struggle to focus in a completely open work area.
Be sure there are plenty of conference rooms of varying sizes in your more open office. Although an open layout helps promote collaboration amongst employees, it also means that an employee's individual workspace is no longer a good place to hold private meetings or videoconferences with coworkers or business partners who are remotely located.
Make sure you have a break room and/or lounge room. Millennials feel comfortable in communal areas, where they’re more relaxed to build relationships with their coworkers as well as brainstorm new work ideas or eveb collaborate on specific projects.
2. Embrace Technology
Millennials like their own way of doing things. They want freedom of choice and devices that make their work life easier and better. So besides an open layout and adjustable furniture that allows for more flexibility, adopt the latest technology.
Millennials have a mobile and tech-forward mindset, which means they're comfortable with – and have come to expect – convenient tools such as digital conference room displays for meeting room scheduling. These tools can work on tablets – which 50% of U.S. young adults own – making it easy for employees to search for and book meeting rooms that fit their needs.
Embracing the technology that millennials already own and use is a surefire way to better attract and maintain happy millennial employees. And a more efficient digital workspace benefits workers from any generation.
3. Value What They Value
Another common theme among millennials is a desire to work for an employer who values health and wellness and recognizes their need for a better work-life balance.
Like you, a millennial is an individual who has a life outside of work, and many of their lives include a family. They spend long hours at the office working, but they also value maintaining their own health and wellness. Including a gym or wellness program is not only an increasingly common office trend, it’s also the perfect way to show your potential and current employees you value them – by valuing what they value.
Employee attraction and retention is vital to your company profitability. Design office space and culture that supports creativity and team collaboration and you’ll more easily attract and retain the innovative millennial workforce you’re looking for.