By 2020, millennials will make up half of an organisation’s workforce on average. But with different preferences and requirements to other employees when it comes to the design of the offices they work in, businesses of all shapes and sizes are having to alter the layout and style of their workspaces to accommodate.
Below, we offer some tips on how to design your office for millennials:
Millennials are fashion and style conscious, from the clothes they wear to the restaurants they visit, via the spaces where they work, socialise and live. Brands are also important to this demographic and, in some cases, style can come before substance. It is important to bear this in mind when designing an office space for millennials. This means monitoring the latest interior design trends, particularly when it comes to colours, materials and furniture. This can be done in such a way that it reflects your business and its personality/brand. So, whether you position yourself as bold and colourful, sleek and stylish, clean and clinical or retro industrial chic, you need to make sure your office has the right feel and flow so that it appeals to fashion-conscious millennials.
Millennials are the smartphone generation, and technology features heavily in their day to day lives, from communicating with friends and listening to music via ordering food, booking holidays and arranging a taxi. Given this reliance on the latest technology, it’s important millennials don’t feel they’ve stepped back in time on entering the office. Features like high-speed Wi-Fi and ample charging facilities should be a given. They also expect to be working with the latest office tech, including laptops and tablets that allow them to take their work with them around the office.
The office of the past where people sat at a desk in a closed-off room, shuffling paper from ‘in’ to ‘out’ are long gone. Today’s working practices are more about openness, co-operation and collaboration and the design of your office needs to facilitate this. Open plan work environments are the most popular choice and should also include break-out areas and “zones”. Millennials don’t like to work to a strict 9-5 regime; some start early, others start late, and both like to take breaks at different points during the day. The hour-long lunch break is a thing of the past, for example. Instead, employees may take five minutes out to sit on a bean bag in a “chill-out” zone and listen to some music. Others might want to grab a coffee from the coffee shop, even if it consists of a Nespresso machine and some comfy seating to the side of the reception area.
Millennials are health conscious and they want to work in places that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Design elements that appeal to them include bright spaces with access to natural light and fresh air. Outdoor areas are a big draw but if that is not an option, the use of plants, flowers, and even fish tanks can really help bring the outside in.
Millennials are unlikely to drive to work, and most don’t even own a car. Instead, they will walk, run or cycle to the office, and expect to be able to safely store equipment once they arrive. Office design should therefore incorporate lockers and storage. Given a potentially gruelling commute, it is also important to ensure millennial employees are given access to facilities where they can shower and change before starting their working day.