Millennials are a markedly different generation than the Baby Boomers: they’re aren’t blindly ambitious employees flocking to climb the corporate ladder, they are collaborative and want to share responsibility; they aren’t looking for lifelong jobs, they’re looking a work environment that is inviting and supportive.
They are also seeking corporate social responsibility (not just lip service), they want to reduce environmental impacts and support local communities; and they seek meaning over money in their careers, they want to be part of a community that makes a difference, they want meaningful relationships in the workplace, and they want to have fun at work.
In “What Millennials are Looking for in the Workplace,” we broke down the core values that educated millennials are seeking from their employers: social and environmental impact, positive feedback and appreciation, meaningful work, and opportunities to break and recharge; today, we show you how those values are driving design and how they can manifest physically in office design.
Community & Collaboration
One of the best ways to embody the values of community and collaboration in your office design is to include your staff in the planning. Because millennials want to be part of the conversation, get their opinion on layout, functionality, and décor and go from there. Incorporating a sense of community and collaboration in your office design can be as simple as ditching overhead fluorescents in favour of diffuse and muted lighting.
Other ways to create a sense of workplace community can include creating break rooms complete with comfortable places to lounge, eat lunch, and decompress, or as avant-garde as designing an open-office concept rife with natural light and littered with breakout rooms and spaces like coffee bars, quiet zones, nap rooms, games rooms, and outdoor patios (think the Googleplex).
Another take on fostering a sense of collaboration and community in the workplace is to create collegiate spaces – that’s right, an environment that mimics post-secondary libraries or student rooms, drawing on the sense of familiarity and camaraderie that millennials associate with pulling all-nighters in university
A Place Employees Want to Be
Historically, offices tend to be hierarchal with corner offices and luxury amenities reserved for the elite, but millennials are driving design toward a more equitable environment by making offices not just tolerable, but pleasurable; a place that fosters creativity, community, and collaboration is, by nature, a more pleasant place to work as it breaks down walls and brings people together.
Representing a workforce that values every employee, regardless of their title or paycheck, millennials are looking for workplaces that are both inviting and supportive. They recognize that if they’re going to spend an average of 50 hours a week at work (that’s an average of 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime) it should be comfortable, not somewhere they dread going, which is where décor and amenities come in. Amenities like coffee bars and gyms that save employees both time and money increase productivity and promote work-life balance.
Doing away with drab, boring office décor in favour of vibrant, modern, and stylish colour pallettes, furniture, and artwork, as well as the opportunity to personalize spaces has a surprising impact on productivity, happiness, and absenteeism. Another, often overlooked, design consideration is ergonomics.
Given the amount of time today’s workforce spends sitting hunched over a desk, staring at a computer, millennials are seeking workplaces that don’t just offer opportunities to break, but alternatives to sitting all day like height adjustable desks that can accommodate sitting or standing and telecommuting.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
A surefire way to incorporate CSR into your office design is through innovative, sustainable design. You can require your contractors to meet or shadow LEED® or GreenGlobes certification requirements, and where possible, you can use recycled, reused, or repurposed materials and utilize existing elements in the design.
So instead of ripping everything out and starting over, incorporate the space’s existing materials in the redesign, divert construction waste from landfills, and source materials and products locally (where possible) to stimulate the local economy. You can also design for efficiency by using smart technology and by selecting colours, window treatments, flooring, fireplaces, fixtures, and furniture that contribute to energy conservation.
Ultimately, millennials are driving office design to achieve new heights creatively, functionally, and sustainably. By designing your office with a focus on your employees, how they work, how they use the space, and what they need from the space, your business will embody the millennial workforce’s core values.
But how do you take these values and bring them together uniquely and effectively to create an office environment where your employees will thrive? We can help with that.
At Truspace, we offer a streamlined approach to designing and building your new or renovated office. Instead of hiring your designer and builder separately, we integrate these services, along with project-management, into one team that serves you from brainstorming your new office through to design and construction.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to learn more about our innovative all-inclusive design build service across Canada.