Rethinking Workplace Design for Millennials and Gen Z
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
With each passing year, there has been a paradigm shift to transform an office into an effective horizon for the employees. Today, as the dynamics of a workplace are witnessing professional growth of Millennials and entry of Gen Z, the need of the hour is to create a translucent design that will blend in the requirements of all under one roof.
Both Millennials and Gen Z, though different generations, do share their love for a great workplace. Such offices can be driven by a mélange of emerging trends and the desire to provide something extra, more than just being a physical space. As these generations will continue to thrive, designers can ideate with employers and employees to create a design that will be more radical, adaptable and balanced.
A few ideas can be incorporated for creating an office for all:
Integrated Technology: Unlike Millennials who saw the world go from dial-up internet to fast speed Wi-Fi, Gen Z grew up with technology ingrained in their lives. The common element between these two generations- their love for technology. A good internet connection is vital for these multitasking, tech-savvy folks. A modern office design with more number of mobile devices and LED’s will make the workplace more attractive. The basic office design can also include the modern augmented and virtual reality and Internet of Things (IoTs) to add more cutting-edge technology in the premises.
Flexible Design: As both generations may have different preferences, flexibility can bridge their requirements into one. Millennials and Gen Z are on the move, they don’t like to spend their time stuck on their desks, and neither do they want the timeworn cubicle-oriented design. With open-planned layout dominating majority of the office design, one can add collaborative, portable and reconfigurable furniture in the setting to complete the look. Desks with adjustable height and chairs with removable backrests can be a good option. As these can be modified as per one’s requirement, their uniqueness will provide comfort as well as a modern touch. It provided as new level of freedom of space at work besides breaking monotony and driving mobility. Further, collaborative zones can increase the approachability index and foster an environment that will put an ease in the communication. Hot-desking can also be incorporated, a style that doubles up as an option to choose working spot.
Me Space: Collaboration zones is more millennial-friendly, it’s time to add in a dash of privacy in office for the new generation. Workplace can be reimagined in a way that allows both generations to function in harmony. The task will be to consolidate these requirements in a set given space with creativity. For example, in an open-plan setting both breakout rooms and privacy pods can be available, each employee can utilize it as per one’s requirement.
Quirky and Unconventional: Both generations admire unconventional and unique designs which give them a sense of individuality. Addition of quirky colours and informal environment will be incorporated to promote synergy. The days of subtle ‘office-like’ colors of gray and blue are passé. It’s time to introduce brighter, livelier colors, contrasting color palette can help for premises really stand out. Use of uncommon paint effects, bold illustrations and artwork can also be integrated in the premises. Informal environment with asymmetric patterns for office furniture, bean-bags, yoga mats, board games etc.is the way to go.
Touch of nature: Biophilic design is a good way to bring in nature inside the office. Companies can include indoor plants to improve the air quality. Large windows can be specially designed to attract more sunlight, something that will also benefit your employees. Inclusion of vertical gardens both outdoors and indoors can help the space look less pro-forma, something Millennials and Gen Z will appreciate.
Ergonomics: A work space meant for Gen Z and the Millennials needs to be harmonized in a way that fulfills their needs rather than having to adjust in the existing environment. With longer working hours and rising stress levels, ergonomics is going to become an important aspect of workplace design. There are plethora of options for ergonomically designed furniture – convertible seating to singular workstations – to choose from. Opt for furniture that has high functionality over ordinary designs. Such addition is going to be a positive investment for any company, as with each passing year the inflow of both the generations will be on a rise.
A good workplace design and environment results in satisfied employees. Both, Millennials and Gen Z want to feel comfortable and have a sense of belongingness. Their requirements are simple - office should be agile, flexible and support them to function throughout the day seamlessly. So, go ahead and transform your office space as these generations are here to stay!