Make Room for Z in Office Design

Make Room for Z in Office Design on

In 2020, Generation Z will walk through the door

The key to smart office design is to meet the needs of today’s rapidly-evolving workplace. Our view of work has changed in recent years, and the workforce is constantly underdoing gender, ethnic, knowledge, and generational shifts.

In 2020, the first members of Generation Z will be graduating college and entering the job market. Their arrival means that many offices, newly remodeled to meet the needs of Y and X or to jump on the trends train, will need another redo to satisfy new work styles while fulfilling company goals.

Adaptable design is the way to go.

The ABCs of Z

At 23 million strong and growing, Generation Z made its debut in the late ‘90s and they continue to be born. Most often, they are the children of Generation X, have a multitude of gadgets, and are the most socially networked of all the generations.

In addition, according to Knoll, they have the highest rates of home schooling, are more likely to have a stay-at-home parent, and appreciate family, order, structure, work ethic, and predictability.

As a result of these traits and characteristics, workspace design will have to shift from the wide-open spaces that suited Generation Y. That may not be such a bad thing, especially considering recent research on the pitfalls of a design that’s too open.

Z and the world of work

Although there is no current data on how Generation Z will impact the office space, there are three key ideas that will make their arrival smoother and simultaneously benefit current employees.

  • Spaces should be “legible.” Through the use of landmarks (such as a café) and structured areas (such as departmental districts or neighborhoods), it should require little effort for employees to make a mental map of the space and to quickly understand where specific tasks are accomplished.
  • Z is a generation reared on multi-tasking – and that can actually be detrimental to professional growth and success. While jumping from data on a phone to data on a tablet to data on a laptop may seem impressive, it may also result in being easily distracted. To prepare for this, distraction-free, enclosed areas need to be incorporated in the overall design. In addition, these same spaces can be used for private meetings and coaching sessions between manager and employee.
  • Z’s strength is in virtual work collaboration, a result of online gaming. Collaboration areas, usually tucked into corners with comfortable seating and power sources, may be necessary.

Different generations with a single goal

No matter how different and diverse the generations may be, it’s important to remember that some ideas are universal. Research from Allsteel uncovered six factors that are scientifically proven to correlate to performance. At the top of the list is social cohesion, which is good for individuals, teams, and the business as a whole.

Smart office design that’s adaptable to changing needs, features spaces that support collaboration and privacy, and incorporates current and future technologies all lend a hand in strengthening camaraderie and interpersonal comfort between the generations, no matter their letter of designation.

Compass Office Solutions believes in the strength of adaptability. If you’re interested in creating a space that satisfies the generations of today and tomorrow, contact us at 954.430.4590 or complete our online form.