Generally speaking, a business’s ability to successfully recruit and retain talent is often dependent on how well they adjust to the changing needs of the workforce. Year to year, it may be difficult to see these changes, but over time, the expectations of new generations entering the workforce are easier to see. This is especially true for workplace design.
The latest generation to enter the workforce is known as Gen Z, or the “Internet Generation.” These employees were born after 1996 and are now getting jobs as interns and entry-level employees. Gen Z, more than prior generations, are very intent on challenging the “norm” or traditional learning spaces, and there are several reasons why.
Unlike older generations, Gen Z has spent most of their lives immersed in technology. With constant access to the internet through smart phones and similar technologies, Gen Z employees have developed skillsets that are highly reliant on the web and they look for atmospheres that cater to this need. This is why many businesses are investing in more technologies throughout the office space, as well as furnishings that encourage employees to “plug in.” For example, gathering tables with power strips/connectivity included can create a collaborative environment for informal meetings that need to last past a laptop’s battery life.
Innovation in Design
It wasn’t long ago that seas of cubicles dominated offices across the nation. While these are still prevalent for many businesses, office spaces have started to trend towards more casual furnishings and open floor plans. This “residential feel” is what many Gen Z employees have come to expect, providing the flexibility to freely move around the office throughout the day and collaborate with coworkers as needed. The addition of a sofa, chairs and cocktail table can go a long way in creating the residential feel younger employees look for in a workspace.
In their personal lives, the Gen Z population has also shown an increased interest in the preservation of their health and wellness. This includes factors like getting enough sleep at night, managing stress, adequate exercise and eating well. With such a strong emphasis on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, employees are also looking for ways to practice in the workplace. Offering company exercise programs during lunch hour or the installation of a smoothie bar are great ways to fit the bill. Standing desks can also be a great selling point for attracting health-conscious employees.
Trends come and go in office design, but they are almost always dependent upon the needs and expectations of employees. As Gen Z continues to make its impression on the modern-day workplace, office layouts will continue to change, but you can expect to see these trends throughout businesses for many years to come.