Over the past decade, we’ve heard a lot of buzz about Generation Y (commonly known as Millennials, born after 1980). Growing up with technology, it’s no surprise that Millennials began to challenge the status quo of office design. Millennials completely transformed office design, ditching rigid cubicles and structure, for a more dynamic and open office concept. Now, there’s a new generation that is emerging that are entering the workforce, referred to as Generation Z. Although Millennials and Generation Z have many similarities, there’s no doubt that Generation Z will bring a new set of behaviours, expectations, and workplace preferences, especially considering their high-tech and hyper-connected upbringing. Generation Z have already started changing workplace design. What impact will the new generation have on office design and workplace trends? Keep reading to find out!
How Millennials Impacted Office Design
One of the most common misconceptions about Millennials had been that they are lazy, entitled, and expect too much freedom from their employers. While this may have been true in some cases, it’s not for the overwhelming majority. Though Millennials are more idealistic, they are motivated by purpose than by a paycheck. Millennials are also more teamwork-oriented and collaborative, so it’s no surprise that they prefer an environment where inclusion is a priority.
Millennials that are currently in managerial roles have been putting more emphasis on mental health and flexible schedules, allowing employees to work from home. Cubicles have been exchanged for co-working desks, closed rooms became open spaces, and blank white walls have become filled with artwork and graphics. Comfortable, modern-looking lounges with foosball, ping pong, and pool tables have become a must-have for many offices in offices for employees to unwind from work stress.
What’s Next For Generation Z?
Generation Z have a lot in common with Millennials, but there are also many ways in which the two generations differ. One major difference is that Generation Z are more pragmatic and realistic. They place high importance on money and security, particularly when it comes to their careers. While Generation Z still care about making a difference, they are ultimately motivated by leading a secure life and seem to value boundaries, personal space, order, and predictability.
Unlike Millennials, they are generally more competitive and prefer to work independently. Many prefer to manage their own projects so that their skills and abilities can shine, without depending on other people to get work done.
Because of these differences, workplace design need to be reimagined in a way that allows both generations to function in harmony. Since both Millennials and Generation Z will occupy the majority of the workforce, bean bags, board games and highly-functional office furniture with asymmetric patterns will easily create their ideal environment. Similarly, a workplace that includes both collaborative, open spaces and private workshops will cater to both generational ideals. Defining designated spaces with clear-use cases can add structure to a flexible environment and could clear up any confusion about whether rooms are for private work or for group meetings.
Incorporating privacy pods, break out rooms or adding wall/window installations will be a preferred solution, allowing Generation Z the privacy to focus on their work with minimal distractions. Millennials and Generation Z are also big advocates of mental health and the affects of stress on productivity. For 2020, the trend of office design that reduces fatigue and stress will continue to rise.
As much as millennials are environmentally aware, Generation Z are even more cautious about their carbon footprint. Biophilic design, which is a great way to help employees connect with nature, will continue to add value to office spaces. Adding some plants makes the office feel like a home and improves air quality, which will boost employee morale.
As Generation Z enter the job market, businesses need to adapt and find ways of offering their employees a workplace that best suits their needs. Redesigning your office space to attract younger talent will keep you ahead of the game. Interested in learning more about design and what kind of office installations are out there? Contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help you create your new office!