Attorney, Paradigm Counsel
Approximately 81 percent of the Millennials responding to MTV's "No Collar Workers" study want to choose their own work hours. Another 88 percent said they want to work in a more social environment where their coworkers are their friends. Adapting your office to this generation of workers allows you to create a space for their creativity and drive. The following suggestions will get you started thinking about how to structure your office space for this new workforce:
It’s Not About The Physical Space
USA Today says the Millennial workforce is not invested in the traditional office space concepts of individual offices or cubes. They want to make sure the space is laid out for efficiency and is conducive to creating relationships.
“Hoteling” is one way to achieve this. Staff do not have assigned offices, but use of various workspaces made available to them on the days they are in the office. The preferred space is one that encourages collaboration, which is a primary reason staff will be in the office.
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Another popular work area is an open space with a long row of workstations. Every space has plenty of power and network outlets, a comfortable chair, and a bright open atmosphere where people can sit down, plug in, and do work. The Millennial workforce is not as interested in a place to hang up family or pet photos. They want a space where they can efficiently do their work.
Personal Spaces at Work
In a collaborative, hoteling workspace, people still need some space for their things, and places to sit and talk. A locker for each person that includes outlets to charge their electronic devices is a good solution, says the Washington Post. Small meeting areas for three or four people to talk will keep people connected. The preference is for more casual areas as opposed to the traditional meeting room with table and chairs. Small, well-lit areas with comfortable chairs, a futon and a small table keep the conversations relaxed.
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Larger rooms for group meetings should also have a comfortable decor. Meeting rooms with videoconferencing capabilities keep staff all over the world connected. One suggestion is to use large, wall-mounted LCD monitors so the people attending remotely look more natural in the meeting, suggests the Washington Post. Having them in a similarly furnished room extends the appearance that they are actually there.
Places to Relax
The creative minds Millennials need space to relax, so having areas dedicated to eating, gaming and socializing are important. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed to further discussions. These spaces will facilitate getting work done as well as provide a place to chill. A kitchenette, refrigerator and freezer, and a variety of comfortable chairs create a comfortable space that will also be used for brainstorming.
Photo by Marcin Wichary via Flickr
A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is essential in this kind of workplace. Staff want to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones. This increases their productivity and workplace morale. This will require policy and procedure changes, such as what devices can actually connect to the company network. But the benefit to the company is that the responsibility to provide tools falls on the staff, not the company.
Photo by The Next Web via Flickr
Pet Friendly Environments
Many places allow pets at work, or at least schedule special days when pets are allowed. A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management notes that companies with pet-friendly policies experience lower stress in their pet-owner employees when their pets are present.
Photo by JohnONolan via Flickr