Millennials at Work: How Generation Y is Changing the Work Environment

Millennials at Work: How Generation Y is Changing the Work Environment on

Smart office design meets the needs and preferences of your workers

A lot has been written and said over the years about the Millennials – both good and bad – but one thing cannot be ignored. Their presence in the workplace is growing and the environment has had to adapt.

By 2020, Millennials are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers in the workplace. As a result, companies are discovering that supporting and retaining talent requires a new way of doing business – and that includes office design.

Digital on a daily basis

Experts and journals have all made lists of what traits and characteristics set Millennials apart from other generations. While it’s not always a good idea to box someone into a list, there is one trait that seems to appear on all lists. Millennials are a generation that has grown up with the Internet and digital media since birth.

Consequently, they are hyper-connected and more technologically savvy than previous generations. In fact, they tend to thrive on innovation and change, and often report the biggest barrier to change is managerial attitude.

And having Millennials work in an office environment from decades ago is the equivalent of jamming a round peg into a square hole.

Kiss the corner office goodbye

Workplace designers are paying attention. Hierarchy, tenure, and seniority are no longer key factors in design. Instead, it’s all about function, flexibility, and fit.

Beyond an open floor plan and the loss of perimeter offices, workplace design is aiming to meet the needs of Millennials. Building Design & Construction Magazine highlighted a number of trends to this effect:

  • Facilities need to be modified to support creativity, focus, and teamwork.
  • Individual workspaces are getting smaller because technology is getting smaller.
  • Although Millennials have a lower demand for privacy than baby Boomers, designers shouldn’t shun the need for private spaces for focused, individual work.
  • Furniture systems need to be adaptable for as-needed task changes, as well as future technology needs and uses.
  • Trendy breakout areas, cafes, sustainable materials, and laid-back interiors are the new norm.
  • Lower walls help employees engage with one another and help to avoid a cubicle desert.
  • To help define areas within the open space, consider creating neighborhoods, each one branded with distinctive furnishings, lighting, and colors.

Bridging the generation gap

While Millennials are a sizeable presence in the workforce, they are not the only presence. Baby Boomers are still working, and Generation Z is on the way. The workforce is fluid, and according to Allsteel, that is the challenge for today’s designers:

  • Understand and acknowledge the similarities and differences that your workforce brings to the workplace. They are not predicated on generational stereotypes alone.
  • Talk to peers in Human Resources to ensure that your workplace design and talent strategies are in alignment.
  • Focus on maximizing team performance and the work to be done by supporting individual work and collaboration, nurturing interpersonal relationships and trust-building, and enabling relevant technology.

Compass provides direction

Compass Office Solutions believes firmly that your workspace should be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of both today’s workforce and of what may come tomorrow. We have solutions that adapt to the needs of your workplace and your individual employees, and we’ve made design and ordering easy by moving all phases of the process online. Call us at 954.430.4590 or fill out our online form to get started.