By Andrea Ditter-Middleton
In 2015, the Millennial Generation, born between 1980 and 1995, surpassed Generation X as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Furthermore, according to Pew Research Center, the number of millennials in the American workforce will continue to increase well beyond the 53.4 million current number as more of the younger millennials finish college.
As a result, the look of the American workplace is changing to accommodate millennials’ different sentiments and ideas about success and productivity in the workplace. Office designs have shifted to accommodate collaborative styles and more laid back, casual business approaches. Whether you are a new company or one looking to refresh your look, consider these tips for changing your office interior design to create a more welcoming and productive environment for this generation.
Millennials Thrive in Collaborative Workspaces
One of millennials’ largest impacts on office environments is their focus on collaborative workspaces and open office layouts. Gone are the days of the corner office vs. cubicle mentality. Millennials want to feel like they are part of a team, and they literally want to take down the walls that separate staff from executives.
For office design, this means focusing heavily on communal spaces, such as large meeting areas with conference tables in various sizes. Casual furniture and large, central lounge areas are also important for millennials, who like to take a more laid back approach to meetings and teamwork.
They Sometimes Still Need Privacy
On the other hand, even open-minded millennials understand that productivity sometimes needs to happen in private environments. Some love the energy provided by collaborative groups but still need acoustical privacy on occasion. This is, in part, why flexible hours and telecommuting are important components when working with millennials.
Privacy is possible in modern office designs, but layout matters. For example, it’s counterproductive to place private workspaces alongside communal ones. It’s also important to utilize sound masking services and other acoustic barriers, such as panels and removable walls to balance noise and enhance privacy.
Focus on Flexibility to Accommodate Everyone
In an article written for Fortune, Bruce Tulgan, author of “It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss” said this about millennials:
“They will be the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world, but they may also be the most high performing.”
In other words, for many modern companies, finding the keys to unlocking millennial productivity and potential will make or break their success in the coming years.
This process starts with designing the type of flexibility in office space and culture that appeals to this generation. These workers want to know they have forward-thinking bosses who are willing to consider their needs. When possible, go the extra mile and let employees and new hires offer suggestions on desks, tables, and chairs for their workspaces.
The convenience of services like CORT Furniture Rental allows you to experiment with alterations to your office design to meet the needs of millennials. Try different options to open up the workspace for easy collaboration without buying all new pieces and committing to a single, long-term design.
Andrea Ditter-Middleton is a professional writer and teacher whose knowledge and work covers a variety of fields from education and finance to travel and home improvement. In addition to teaching writing and literature to community college students, Andrea is a regular contributor to LivingRichWithCoupons.com and iGrad.com. Her work has also appeared on Credit Sesame, ChildsWork, and ContentMarketing.com.