Idea Lab: Workplace Design with Millennials in Mind

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Workplace Design with Millennials in Mind

As Millennials assume increasing responsibility in the office and represent a growing proportion of the workplace, office design changes along with them. According to a study by Forbes, by 2025, it is estimated that 75% of workers will be Millennials. As they flood the workplace, they bring their own visions for their careers with them. Overwhelmingly, they identify with striving for work life integration. But what does that mean for design?

1. Lower Demand for Privacy

Millennials seem to generally have a lower need for privacy, superseded by a desire for connection, convenience, and flexibility. This is a large departure from the Baby Boomer generation that places a high value on a quieter, more isolated workspace. Rather than including too many private offices and claustrophobic cubicles, design with Millennials in mind should incorporate open areas for socialization and collaboration.

2. Location, Location, Location

When considering Millennials’ workspace preferences, think outside the box—literally. Millennials’ preferences for unconventional workplaces can be harnessed to encourage increased collaboration. Since a younger worker might feel more productive in an outdoor patio or a casual lounge area, this more open environment can invite interaction with colleagues.

3. Technological Acumen

It’s no secret that younger generations, having grown up in the Age of Information with the advent of high speed internet, place a high premium on quality tech in the workplace. They demonstrate an ease in learning and adapting to new technologies. Technology itself changes workplace design, with flatter screens, larger hard drives, and ubiquitous digital information. As clunky monitors are replaced with slim flat screens, and stacks of paper are digitized, desks demand less space. This means each workstation’s footprint can decrease while efficiency increases.

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4. Business Casual

Millennials overwhelmingly prefer a business casual environment over a formal system valuing hierarchy and seniority. Unsurprisingly, they gravitate towards workplace design that is the physical manifestation of this preference. Flexible work areas are replacing opaque, enclosed rooms, and younger employees are finding comfort in a more fluid look and feel.

5. Mobile Hotspot

Their comfort with technology extends beyond just ease of use. Millennials are also an incredibly mobile generation, often preferring phones, tablets, and laptops to a more limiting desktop machine. Providing outlets and Wi-Fi, along with flexible seating options can encourage Millennials to work in a way they’re comfortable with, resulting in higher employee satisfaction and a more productive workforce.

6. Importance of Aesthetics

In general, the emerging workforce favors pleasing aesthetics that foster creativity. Artwork, colors, and a clean, modern design can do a lot to lift employees’ moods and inspire brainstorming. Millennials often crave engagement in their ideal work environment. A fresh design can do wonders for employee satisfaction of all ages and backgrounds.