21st Century Office Design: Workplace Fit for Millennial Workforce
Gone are the times when employers could overhaul the workplace and call it a day for the next few years. Baby boomers are retiring in flocks, and young hopefuls are stepping up to fill vacant seats, hankering for a slice of the corporate cake.
According to certain projections, millennials will account for a total of 75% of global workforce by 2025. With young business sharks behind the wheel, office design is racing forward at full speed, and the demand for workplaces that fit the worker is now more vocal than ever. Generation Yers are definitely here to make big waves in business waters – and here are some of the main aspects in which design preferences of millennial employees are re-shaping the modern office.
1. Less privacy, more collaboration
Image 1 source: arnoldsofficefurniture.com
A decade ago, most workplaces were divided into cubicles and private suites for high-ranking personnel. Since then, the conventional workspace layout lost its appeal and ceded the throne to the open-floor plan office. Today, a majority of millennials won’t even blink if asked to choose between a classic office and its open-plan counterpart. New kids on the business block aren’t concerned about privacy, and they dislike formal floor plans for several reasons.
Generation Yers don’t like to be cooped up in tiny work pods for hours on end, and they prefer their workplace to reflect corporate transparency and flexible approach to corporate hierarchy. In an open-plan office, employees aren’t constantly reminded of rank differences, and they also like the freedom and sense of community that goes hand in hand with collaborative workspaces.
2. Room(s) for casual exchange
In addition to the open layout, room for casual exchange is another segment that occupies an important place on the list of modern office must-haves. Break rooms, lounges, kitchenettes, areas dedicated to team brainstorming, and similar spaces designed with accidental collisions in mind foster creative collaboration and team spirit. This is a much-needed asset for millennials, who like to mingle during breaks and dislike the strict boundaries a formal workplace entails, and they are also up to date with latest office design trends.
Image 2 source: pixabay.com
Still, millennials don’t want just about any collision-dedicated space design: they do like to have a hand in office décor, and they seek only the finest of features to spice up their spare minutes. Coffee makers, vending machines, beanbags, designer sofas, air-purifying plants, and furniture made from sustainable materials are all at home in a modern office break room, and so are other first-rate utilities that make work a tad bit more fun.
3. Flexibility that fits workflow pace
Flexible-use space is another feature Generation Yers regard with an appreciative eye. Even in their homes, millennials like to have the option to mix different design features, and they prefer open-ended space with modular or mobile furnishings to purpose-designated rooms with fixed elements with low functional versatility. During work hours, young generations want to feel at ease – and at home, too, which is why spatial flexibility is integral to the 21st century office concept.
Image 3 source: pexels.com
Private suites, boardrooms, and telecom are still in high demand in both private and co-working offices, but open-layout workplaces today often blend individual workstations and teamwork-dedicated areas. Shared desks, beanbags to accommodate group brainstorming sessions, and various similar collaborative office elements are a hot design feature in a modern workspace – and young professionals like it that way.
4. Furnished for long-term success and health
As for office furniture, millennials are much pickier than their parents. Young professionals know the health hazards of sedentary lifestyle like the back of their hand, and they don’t want to lose their well-being over paycheck. For this reason, they seek only the best and the comfiest in their workplace, and they value ergonomic furnishings more than some other office features – more even than work duration or salary.
Sit-to-stand workstations, standing desks, comfort-fit adjustable-height seating with memory foam padding, and even stability balls are a workplace must for Generation Yers, and so is low-glare lighting, stimulating color scheme, and optimal soundproofing.
5. Cutting edge technology to cut the costs
Image 4 source: pexels.com
Millennials have lived in the digital world most of their life, and advanced tech is their faithful companion on the quest for peak productivity and workflow dynamics. Instead of having to handle various work-related tasks manually, Generation Yers have state-of-the-art technology fighting in their business corner: all they need to do is push a few buttons or touch right icons on the smartscreen, and their work is halfway done.
For this reason, employers eager to attract millennials need to equip commercial-use space with cutting-edge technological solutions, business-grade Wi-Fi, and all the smart digital solutions that reduce loss of time and unwarranted hassle during work hours. Millennials are changing the landscape of office design in a number of ways, and it’s good that they are. Judging by the positives behind contemporary office interiors, we can only hope that the change will persist and continue to expand to other aspects of business conduct. Generation Yers seem to have intuitive understanding of efficient updates and tweaks that will boost the bottom line, productivity, work satisfaction, and office appeal – and employers should definitely learn from the young crowds if they want to keep an edge in the corporate game.
Alissa has over 25 years of experience in the office furniture industry. For many of those years, Alissa was a Senior Interior Designer. She then took her love of design and working with customers to the sales realm and has been dedicating her knowledge there ever since. Learn more about Alissa!