Businesses are reorganising and reshaping their workplaces to attract staff back to the office. With all the new developments around flexible working, there is a huge incentive for organisations to make their offices appeal to younger generations.
It is estimated that by 2025, Millennials will make up over 75% of the global workforce and Gen Z has steadily been entering the workplace as they begin to reach employment age. With this new wave of young talent in the workplace, companies will need to do everything they can to attract and retain them in a highly competitive market.
Millennials and Gen Z are expecting their demands to be accommodated by businesses and the workplace can play a big part in their decision about where they work. The design of the workplace contributes to how the younger generation feels about where they work but there is now a major demand for wellbeing, sustainability and technology to be a central part of the company they work for.
A report produced by Adobe found that 56% of 18–24 year olds surveyed were planning to switch jobs in the next year. This ‘Great Resignation’ is a real risk to businesses that react too slowly or demonstrate a reluctance to make changes. These are some of the ways that office design can help attract the fresh ideas of the younger generations.
Millennials are a generation that seeks communication, flexibility and a choice on how they work and the right office design can give them that. The workplace needs to offer more than an open-plan space with good social spaces, the best Millennial and Gen Z talent want real flexibility to split their time between the office and remote locations.
The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey showed that 75% of Gen Zs and 76% of Millennials would prefer working patterns where they either split their time between remote and on-site work or work entirely from home. This shows that this is not a breakaway minority that wants this change, but a majority that aligns with both generations. The Deloitte survey also showed that many companies were not able to meet these demands with only 49% of Gen Zs and 45% of Millennials being given the option to work outside of the office for part of the week.
With a need for greater connectivity and more shared working spaces, the traditional office layout is becoming more diluted. Companies with a hybrid workforce have seen the need for more multi-use areas and increased functionality in the workplace. Breakout spaces and informal seating areas now need to be equipped with the right types of furniture so that they can be used as a work setting as well as their primary purpose. Other considerations like acoustics, meeting pods and increased power outlets are all examples of the changes that can be made to an office to enable flexibility for staff.
As the number of Millennials and Gen Z employees has grown, office design has evolved to meet new demands to ensure that the workplace is accommodating the needs of top talent. One of those standout needs is the value placed on collaboration and working with others to achieve their goals.
Andrew Ellenberg states in his piece for Forbes that “they believe that working together is more engaging than working alone. And they are always looking for ways to connect via social media, events and networking clubs.”
This desire to socialise, particularly coming out of the pandemic, is a gap that can be filled by the workplace. Younger workers want the office to buck the trend and become a centre for collaboration and innovation and this means going beyond the standard ping pong table and incorporating activities within your office culture. Activating collaboration and a connected culture can be achieved by designing areas in the office that are dedicated to collaborative work or by offering a variety of spaces that allow people to meet naturally and work together away from their desks.
With the increase in remote and flexible working time in the office is now more valuable. Millennials and Gen Z can thrive in a community-focused environment where they can collaborate with colleagues. Creating an environment that encourages daily interaction promotes a culture of togetherness and unity which is essential to enabling a collaborative and creative workplace that is highly sought after by Millennials and Gen Z talent.
Millennials and Gen Z have grown up using technology daily, and for them, it is simply a given. It is therefore essential to provide the right technology to impress and support this generation. Companies that can provide access to the latest technology are going to be more appealing to Gen Z and Millennial talent.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for introducing new technology into most businesses which means that tech such as desk-booking apps and video conferencing has become commonplace.
Companies can still look to embrace technology that Gen Z and Millennials use already to help attract staff. HR consultant Michael Timmes states that employers can contribute to an improved employee experience by opting for “relevant, user-friendly technology that is intuitive with applications that integrate seamlessly on all devices is vital to enhance customer experiences.”
Depending on the sector you work in, some workplace technology may be more essential than others but this is the type of thing that new talent is weighing up. There are multiple workplace technology trends that are driving the modern workplace and it is more than just collaboration tools. The technology used to help improve employee experience with HR apps for internal communication and surveys becoming more widely used. With the workplace becoming more digital-first than ever before, small things can make a big difference.
The workplace will always retain a level of pull when it comes to attracting and retaining talent but the way in which the workplace attracts talent has evolved. Design gimmicks and ping pong tables just don’t cut it anymore and the focus for Gen Z and Millennials has shifted towards real purpose and an ability to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The adjustments that were made to the standard 9-5 have left their mark on young people wanting more flexibility and control in their working lives.
The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey shows that currently 49% of Gen Zs and 45% of millennials work remotely at least some of the time, while three-quarters say this would be their preferred mode of working. This shows that nearly half of each generation wants to get more time back to enable them to save money or spend time with family. This is a significant change and while these demands may seem a long way away from the traditional expectations pre-pandemic, companies have an opportunity to readdress the balance in the workplace through intelligent design, new ways of working and modern solutions.
Based on data from 1,000 young people aged 18-34, The Future Workplace Report aims to signpost what the next generation expects from their workspaces. Download the report for more guidance.download