Today’s workforce is undergoing a major shift in population. As of 2017, 56 million Millennials are either working or actively searching for work, making them the largest segment of the U.S. labor force, surpassing Gen Xers in 2016.
More than one out of every three American workers is a Millennial — more than Gen Xers and much more than Baby Boomers. And, just as every other generation that came before them, Millennials pride themselves on marching to the beat of their own drum, if you will — wearing different clothes, listening to different music, and working differently.
The very idea of where and how we work is undergoing a revolution right now, with major changes being made in physical design and decor.
Millennials often get a bad rap for being aloof, self-centered and poor communicators in the workplace, this doesn’t seem to hold up in practice. Millennials prefer “work casual” environments — thriving in open workspaces with lots of common areas for casual, impromptu meetings. Long gone are the closed offices and rows of traditional cubicles; now, glass walls, common tables, and even sofas rule the new workspace.
These days, people aren’t the only capital that needs to work smarter, not harder — offices are regularly required to accommodate more and more workers with less square footage and fewer desks. One solution to this issue is unassigned workspaces. Strategies such as free desking, desk sharing, benching and more all allow employees to work at different places throughout the day. An added bonus? A change in scenery is proven to boost your performance at work.
While technology isn’t exactly a design trend, it definitely plays a major role in today’s modern workspace. With more and more millennials in leadership roles, outfitting office spaces, technology everywhere — wireless keyboards and mice, headsets, smartboards, dual monitors, personal laptops and tablets, smartphones, and more. And, in true Millennial fashion, these items are pulling double duty — that PA system that was used in this morning’s budget meeting? It’s being used for karaoke later during office happy hour.
One of the most marked trends of millennials in the workplace is that they’re making work feel, well… not like work. Millennials work hard and play hard, and they demand an office environment that keeps up with them. They’re looking for a space that has plenty of room for office gatherings, or even a pool table or ping pong table. Providing engaging areas throughout the office will help your employees relax and give their brain a rest. And rest assured, they’ll be back at work in no time — recharged and ready to go.
More Than Design: Putting the Pieces Together
You may be wondering why all of this matters. If your company is successful and you pay competitive wages, you’ll attract the best employees, right? Not necessarily. Another trait of millennials workers is that more and more factors are becoming more important than their paycheck — things like workplace culture, flexibility and yes, a well-appointed workspace.