Office design is constantly changing. Many companies that initially opted for the hot-desking office style are now shifting to a more playful working environment. The main factor behind this shift is the increasing number of millennials. This group now makes up more than 35% of the workforce.
As a result, office designers are now focused on designing spaces that will accommodate "millennial culture."
Factors Influencing Millennial Office Design
The first step towards creating the ideal office space for millennials is to understand their habits and motivations. Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the information age. From a young age, they had access to mobile phones and the Internet. They could easily connect with other people. The ability to acquire information instantly has been a common feature of their daily lives from childhood.
As a generation, they are technologically-savvy, creative, and ambitious. They are ready to ditch their current place of work if they think they are not being treated well. Millennials consider the work-life balance to be more important than a paycheck.
The truth is, millennials could be much happier, more productive, and focused if their employers put more interest into their office environment. With the concept of the workspace ever-evolving thanks to our reliance on digital tools, millennials now have a more significant opportunity than ever before to work precisely the way they want to.
The most effective workspaces are the ones that make you feel the most comfortable, yet keep you focused.
There's no doubt that your surroundings influence your behavior and mood. A study of Harvard students found that those with messy desks gave up on challenging tasks almost twice as fast as students with clean ones.
It's also been shown that remote workers face greater feelings of isolation than in-office workers. A report from Ergonomic Trends stated that 83% of workers felt more engaged and motivated when in a coworking space.
According to the Wrike Happiness Index, millennials value flexibility as the second-most important factor in worker happiness, behind compensation. Some millennials like to stand while they work while others prefer to sit. Some might like as many monitors as they can squeeze onto their desks, while others might want to keep it simple.
Headphones are a great way to minimize distractions while you work, but not all music genres are created equal.
- Ambient music has been shown to improve the accuracy of data entry
- Mathematicians are more accurate in solving problems when listening to classical music.
- Trance music can help proofreaders complete their edits 20% faster.
The point is, you need to take an honest look at a millennial employee's strengths and weaknesses. What makes them feel comfortable? What keeps them focused?
Ironically, most millennials have better work technology at home than they have at the office. They have been using technology all their lives, and they consider it a basic necessity. Consider installing tools that support live chat, seamless storage, and smooth engagement.
Millennials' growing reliance on digital tools requires a new focus on how you manage work within your office. You need to consider questions you haven't explored before, like:
- How do employees archive, access, and maintain work with minimal storage limitations?
- How do you construct a seamless workflow that allows an employee to collaborate with others while still retaining a sense of autonomy?
- And, how does security play a role in the integrity and reliability of the tools you use?
These considerations are as crucial as any in your workplace environment.
Also, ask your employees how they can tailor their physical and digital workspaces to best suit their needs. Your office design should allow room for customization. For example, some millennials may want to install laptop stands on their desks.
With modular furniture, companies can resize, reshape, and relocate a particular office or workstation. Such a flexible design encourages a dynamic workflow and enhances seamless workforce growth.
It also eliminates the need for employees to be sitting at their desks every day. Some employers have witnessed the perils of using a traditional meeting place for brainstorming and collaboration events. Those employers are shifting to a less formal office where employees can discuss issues both freely and creatively. A more comfortable workspace inspires imagination and creativity.
Zenbooth designs free-standing office phone booths in different sizes to suit staff's needs. You can choose a booth to provide privacy for one or two people, or a meeting room to accommodate four to six people — and since they look great, you’ll be adding to the aesthetics of the office environment.
Companies need to get smarter, leaner, and faster. Providing a truly dynamic and flexible working environment helps to attract and retain the best millennial talent by providing a modern, sustainable workplace.
Agile working enables more efficient use of space and resources with greater flexibility for teams to adapt to changing business requirements.
With the advent of new technologies and remote and flexible working environments, the very nature of work is changing. Millennial employees' expectations have also changed.
An agile workspace is the physical workspace and should not be confused with the agile workflow, which is a form of project delivery.
The real philosophy around agile work is connecting with the idea that work is an activity and not a place. So, you should try to maximize your office by trading individual areas for shared group spaces.
And by doing this, you will be allowing more flexibility and balance, creating opportunities for increased collaboration, and giving people more choice on how and where they work.
Millennials don't require as much privacy as previous generations. They are quite comfortable working in a collaborative environment where they can easily communicate with colleagues. They can get over the hurdle of losing their physical workspace by having access to a home zone or a neighborhood.
This home zone or owner neighborhood offers an employee different types of spaces that better suit the kinds of work that they do throughout the day. One example is collaboration spaces where employees gather to work together in an open space. There are also communication spaces, which are your traditional meeting rooms and places for training.
You can create concentration spaces, which is where employees want to go when they're trying to do some independent and focused work.
Dynamic Storage Options for Staff
If employees have a collaborative work environment and they don't have their own desk every day, then you need an area for storage. This is a place where employees can put their personal effects since they do not sit at their desk.
A Havard study found that 94% of employees work at least 50 hours every week. The complexity of work is increasing, and work hours are becoming more prolonged and brutal. This is not an environment where millennials can thrive.
You need to create an office space that does not lead to burnout. One way of achieving this is through solid work-life balance. Think about providing a workspace that has amenities for socializing and other fun activities.
Designing an office with outdoor areas is a perfect way to attract and retain millennials. They value an outdoor working space and appreciate its health benefits. A greener or carefree environment lessens the monotony of google slides and charts. There should be spaces where people can exercise or play games. Such a dynamic workplace will create a happy, motivated, and creative team.
With millennials becoming the backbone of the workforce, the design of the workspace has never been more critical. So, what does your workspace look like? If you think you need an upgrade, contact the experts at Zenbooth. An investment in your staff is one of the best you can make.