Several studies, like this one from Bentley University, show how Millennials are shaping the modern workplace. 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020. So what are they looking for, and how can you keep them on board? Here are five office design principles that will help you attract and retain a Millennial workforce.
Build in flexibility
Technology encourages a much closer work-life integration, and Millennials feel they should be able to work anytime, from anywhere. To fit a workforce with changing ideas of time and productivity, adopt a flexible design that will allow your space to scale for coming and going.
Design for collaboration
According to the Bentley study, 51% of Millennials prefer to speak to colleagues in person. Incorporate open work spaces, rolling tables, and breakout rooms to show that you value in-person communication as well. Mixed-in spaces for play and rest also foster spontaneous conversations across departmental boundaries and reflect your company’s collaborative culture. For even more face-time-by-design, you can always find ways to take a meeting outside.
Make mentors accessible
A 2014 study by office design expert Jonathan Webb found that many college graduates feel “lost in transition.” The reason is that they’re expected to go from campus environments that foster coaching and mentor relationships into corporate workplaces with endless rows of cubicles. Rather than creating a sense of isolation, design your office in a way that provides fluid access to mentors and higher-level leadership. For example, put managers’ offices within easy reach of their employees, not on a different floor that requires special keycard access.
Use cutting edge technology
To Millennials, technology is like air — they expect it to be everywhere. As Bullhorn CEO Art Papas says: “Millennials don’t look at technology as an extra.” By putting your technology front and center, you can impress Millennials as soon as they walk in the door.
Prioritize experiences over stuff
Millennials tend to value experiences over things. This means your office’s overall atmosphere might be more important than personal ownership of desks or offices. Design community spaces to provide positive community-building experiences. For example, make space for weekly office socials or provide board games in your lunchroom. The way your office looks is an important part of the first impression your company makes.
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