How to outfit your office space to attract the fastest growing generation in the workforce
It’s no secret that the average American employee spends over a third of their life in the workplace. Plenty of awareness and perspective has been drummed up around this detail in the past decade, especially as new generations enter the workforce seeking flexible time schedules and the option to work remotely. Over the last few years “work-life-balance” has evolved from an ideal to something attainable for young talent, making it one of the top buzz words uttered by company recruiters on campuses, at career fairs, and in interviews around the nation.
Office space design is evolving to reflect this mentality, which is growing by leaps and bounds as more Millennials enter the workforce. In fact, according to a study by Forbes, it is projected that by 2025, three out of four workers will be Millennials and a majority of this group has latched onto a new expression and vision for the working years of their life, “work life integration.” The Millennial Generation has a different vision for their career, and with that, pose a special challenge for the designers of the workplace.
What exactly does this mean for design?
Millennials know that the office is where a majority of their life will be spent, and their co-workers will make up a majority of their community. Upon graduating from college and seeking employment, current recruits will search for an office environment in which their working life will easily blend and integrate with their leisure life via their co-workers and their office space. This approach to the workplace should be reflected in the actual office space design.
Here are a few ideas of how companies are reaching work-life-integration for their employees through design:
Create Flexible Work Areas. Provide a space where community bonding and productivity may occur simultaneously. That means, replace conventional office space with co-working and lounge areas equipped with functionality for tasks to be completed, such as outlets and wi-fi access. Eliminate the traditional office facade where only work-related tasks must take place, and encouraging daily, guilt-free communication, bonding and fun, is the ideal work environment for the average working Millennial. Providing an assortment of open seating or work areas for employees to choose from will aid in creative innovation.
Incorporate Comfortable and Engaging Visuals. Implement creative aesthetics to excite the brain and foster creativity. This can range from various floor and wall materials to fun and functional furniture throughout the office space. Artwork, pops of color and unique elements will make the space look and feel good, while inspiring creativity. To really go the extra mile, consider signing up for an art service that delivers new artwork each month. Other creative elements could include accent walls, lounge seating areas and sculptural elements like floating walls.
Add Break Out Work Areas. Design areas that provide employees a place to escape the feeling of “being at work” while still being at work. This could include a cafeteria-style kitchen or a coffee bar. Some businesses are even incorporating gyms into their office spaces. The goal is to provide easy access to places millennials would typically go after work like a gym to get in their daily workout or a coffee lounge to mingle with friends. If this use of space is cost prohibitive, a similar goal can be accomplished by building out work spaces that are less conventional, like a family room style lounge in a small conference room.
While not every office culture has the flexibility to support non-traditional designs, the long term benefit can be overwhelming, especially as more millennials enter the workforce. Not only will your office space attract more millennial workers, but it may increase productivity and overall workplace satisfaction. Rightsize can help you design and furnish a well-balanced office space to accommodate the various needs for various working types. For more information, contact Rightsize, and our expert team of designers will help you get started.