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Decoding the Ideal Workspace for Millennials Collaborative workspaces are tastefully designed to cater to the needs of employees that range from millennials to Gen Z

By Sumit Lakhani

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The millennial workforce is often tagged with the misconception of being easily distracted and unmotivated. Thus, a challenge which most businesses face in unlocking their true potential. They yearn autonomy, and if one applies the paradigm to the way they like to work, it becomes quite obvious why they love the idea of coworking spaces.

Inherently collaborative and flexible by nature, coworking has observed many new trends and unique practices over the years. They are the new hub for India's ever-dynamic millennials who seek an adequate/ ideal spectrum of work and play amalgamation. Organisations today are striving to make their workplace the ideal environment for employees to flourish, and coworking spaces have proved to be an ideal propeller in workspace productivity and collaboration. Led by the emerging Gen Z population, the workforce of India has gradually evolved and so have workspaces where desks are no longer limited to its primary utility and every employee desires a holistically driven workplace. With a relatively conducive working environment in place, modern offices in the form of coworking spaces are more responsive to workers' needs and are not confined to physical locations amidst emerging mobility solutions provided by leading players in the segment.

Design

Collaborative workspaces are tastefully designed to cater to the needs of employees that range from millennials to Gen Z. They have a strong aversion to being confined to a desk or cubicle, therefore more open-planned layouts with flexible activity-based settings, break-out zones, meeting pods & terrace cafeterias fostering conversations over coffee & food are hard to miss at coworking spaces. Shared workspaces fitted with activity-based settings allow for greater collaboration and alternate meeting/working points other than one's work desk. In fact, collaboration areas & relaxed meeting lounges allow for stimulated informal interactions that cater to the social needs of the employees. Biophilic designs, indoor plants & vertical gardens help bring a bit of nature indoors allowing the millennial mind to not feel trapped within the confines of office space.

Collaboration

In terms of perception and functionality, coworking is largely synonymous to collaboration. People share opinions and formulate opinions basis their continuous interactions with other colleagues – encouraging a highly open environment. The meaning may also come from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out, and there are many opportunities to do so; the variety of workers in the space means that co-workers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members. People from different aspects of life, come together to work under the same roof. People with varied thoughts have varied ideas. Sometimes people in a coworking environment collaborate for out of the box thinking and results. These thoughts are then transformed into an end product which is only possible by great minds thinking differently. The growing trend of start-ups, benefit majorly from such collaborations, which otherwise is not possible.

Where work meets life

According to a Harvard Business School survey, a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week. With the complexity of work increasing, the work hours are no more rigid. Hence it is vital to have an environment that prevents burnouts. Socialising, various activities across the floor, music and quirky ambience provide an environment that is otherwise missed out on when buried in work. A perfect blend of work-life balance is achieved whilst increasing the productivity of employees. Furthermore, People who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful. According to Harvard Business Review, the combination of a well-designed work environment and a well-curated work experience are part of the reason why people who co-work demonstrate higher levels of thriving than their office-based counterparts.

Technology

Millennials today are looking for high quality, high-speed connectivity, reliable and covetable products at work and are already shaping office spaces today. Laptops and smartphones in the near future will transform into voice-activated assistant, wearable technology, including wearable glasses, embedded chips, and wrist devices connected with the Internet of Things (IoT), ensuring the seamless connection of work surfaces and individuals. Video technology & connectivity speed will ensure real presence without travel. Artificial intelligence will in fact even corroborate furniture shape, size, and use as per user accumulated data.

Bringing the External Stimulant

The new generation is passionate about social causes that benefit the society at large and want to be associated with organizations that are not only customer-oriented but also have a social mission. To the extent that millennials can shift their brand loyalty if they feel a brand has a genuine commitment towards social causes. Coworking spaces are cognizant of the fact that being attached to a social cause aids the greater sense of connecting to a workplace. Realizing that millennials and Gen Z form a large part of the coworking community, organizations are now not only focusing on charity but are also utilizing technology to track the impact caused and communicate this to them effectively.

Shared workspaces are enjoying unprecedented success in the past few years and are slated to enjoy uninterrupted growth with trends such as design, collaboration, technology, charity, work-life balance at its core so as to the ideal choice for the dynamic new-age workforce.

Sumit Lakhani

CMO, Awfis

Sumit is working as CMO at Awfis. His responsibility areas include Sales, Marketing, PR, Alliances, Supply sideaggregation, Fund Raising and Strategy. Prior to joining Awfis, Sumit had over 10 years of work experience acrossInvestment Banking, Private Equity and IT Services. 
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