Millennials at work have become a very hot topic – probably because they make up the largest portion of the workforce in the United States. Creating an inviting office space for millennials will benefit your company. It can inspire the newly hired millennials and refresh your current employees.
A great trendsetter in this area is the Googleplex by Google. While a nap room, full bar, and yoga studio may not be suitable for all work spaces, these trends can be followed to some degree. Any office that is out of the ordinary will be considered forward thinking by millennials. This can then improve your company’s reputation as your millennial employees talk you up on social media.
One of the most important things to consider when looking for office space is location. A location with convenient access to the suburbs and downtown are ideal. Not all millennials have access to a car, so you should also keep in mind access to public transportation. While looking for an office location, don’t forget about where your current employees live and spend their time outside of work.
Perhaps the biggest trend in designing office space for millennials is open floor work spaces. Open floor plans lead to collaboration and increased quality of work output. Working with millennials can be refreshing because they expect this type of group work and creativity. Millennials expect to be able to brainstorm with their colleagues while at work. Asking questions and helping each other is not easy or encouraged with cubicle walls closing everyone off. The open work spaces help spur group interaction.
When designing office space for millennials it is advisable to avoid assigned workstations, private offices, or desks with high partitions. Allowing employees to choose where in the office they work can prevent monotony and isolation. It creates a more adaptable environment, so the collaboration and brainstorming can happen more organically.
These changes may seem very drastic to long-time, traditional workers. Some employees from older generations may find collaborative work areas to be loud and distracting. Due to this, you may want to consider keeping some spaces quiet. Meeting or conference rooms are ideal for this purpose along with small break-out rooms or private phone booths.
Since a large open floor plan can get loud, there are a few things you can do to combat the noise. Decorative partitions are a good way to divide very open spaces. They also provide some privacy and can help to redirect noise. If you want to start transitioning to an open office floor plan, start by lowering cubicle walls. Fixed walls can also be replaced with portable dividers. There are even sound cancelling speaker systems that can be incredibly effective.
In addition to the open floor plan, the ideal office space for millennials will have lounge areas. These should have comfortable seating and are a great place for a coffee break. Employees can escape to these areas to get their eyes away from a computer screen for a few minutes. During busy times these lounges can double as work spaces. Add some movable whiteboards, TV monitors, nearby outlets, and your millennial employees with thank you for the creative lounge area!
Millennials expect to be comfortable at work. This doesn’t stop at the lounge. Ergonomic furniture is a must. Consider things like sit-stand desks and chairs with lumbar support. There are also ergonomic mice, keyboards, monitor stands, and much more. These accessories and furniture can decrease conditions like carpal tunnel, poor posture (which leads to headaches and nerve problems), and even digestion. Over time they can improve accuracy, reduce fatigue, and save time.
There are some smaller changes you can implement immediately to make your office more millennial friendly. Embracing technology can be a great way to start. Video conferencing and document sharing is expected these days. Millennials do not want to waste their time driving to a meeting that could have easily be done via Skype.
As millennials grew up, the environment was always a hot button issue. Because of this they expect companies to be environmentally friendly. Start an office recycling policy. You could also encourage the inclusion of nature into the office. For example, have “walking meetings.” During these meetings employees congregate in green areas outside the office. They take walks outdoors while discussing the issues. You could also allow employees to bring in plants for their workstations.
Please contact us if you have any questions about trying to find or create the ideal office space for your growing millennial team.