by Daniela Maher
As the youngest corporate generation falling between the ages of 18 and 35, Millennials are notoriously known for having extremely high standards and a “dream big” mentality when it comes to their job titles, salaries, hours, and benefits. Businesses across every industry are faced with two challenges when it comes to the Millennial workforce: finding and filtering the top talent from their application pool, and further, retaining these employees. To face these challenges, businesses are setting themselves apart from their competitors through the reinforcement of corporate brand, culture, and community. An effective way to accomplish this is through company aesthetics and office design.
Along with new technology and company culture, office design plays an important role for the corporate success among this generation: “Sleek, cutting-edge office environments have . . . been instrumental to elevating a company’s public image and hiring top talent,” notes The Huffington Post.
This tech-savvy generation has been brought up in a world that is flexible and collaborative. Giving them alternative places to work both alone and in groups, like huddle spots and lounge areas, is something that will draw Millennials into a workplace, and further lead to engagement in the office.
Through our recent experience with designing for Millennials, we have found the top workplace features the youngest corporate generation craves.
A common description of the Millennial generation is that they want to be able to maintain their lifestyles outside of work including working out, catching up on their favorite shows, playing video games, and having coffee with a friend. While offices are primarily places of work, they also are where employees spend a large portion of their lives. Providing employees with amenities like fitness centers, state-of-the-art kitchens, media lounges, and gaming areas, makes maintaining happiness and lifestyle a part of going to work every day.
Latest and Greatest Technology
Millennials are the guinea pigs of adapting to technology in the workplace. They have been introduced to computers, the internet, smart phones, and tablets through their education and careers. They are able to adapt quickly to the latest technology and can modify their work habits accordingly. Office designs must be able to do the same and should be connected through high-speed internet and equipped with the technological tools that influence Millennial work ethic.
Flexibility and Open Plans
Workplace design that targets Millennials requires access to natural light and room to move and explore. Designs that allow employees the flexibility to see one another and the ability to interact and collaborate provides the open environment Millennials seek and helps to eliminate negative feelings of enclosure. This in turn translates into an open mind about coming into work every day and helps to boost productivity and enthusiasm throughout the office. Ultimately, design matters — smart, innovative, sustainable, and collaborative design is what sets companies apart. Flexibility of design in the workplace is also key to being able to keep and retain this generation, as they are always seeking the ability to have freedom in the decisions of where they work, which in turn helps them be more productive.
Daniela Maher, IIDA, LEED AP, NCIDQ, is senior associate at Visnick & Caulfield Associates, Inc.