May 23, 2017

Millennial Office Design for the Workplace

We were downright inspired by a recent article at by Laura Fries.  It tackles millennial office design, and how to create office designs and layouts that millennials will find inviting, flexible, and conducive to productivity.  Millennials tend to think differently about work - including the process of getting work done, the settings where they can be most productive, and the level of collaboration vs. privacy they desire.

This picture was taken at ValueClick in Chicago - used with permission.ValueClick in Chicago, IL - with permission

What Millennials Want in the Workplace

Millennials are looking for less silos and more collaboration at the workplace, and they want their office desk designs to reflect this.  In an ideal millennial work environment, offices would be less linear, boring, and walled off.  There would be more openness, flexibility of where one could accomplish his or her work, and various sizes of rooms, desks, and tables in which to work and collaborate.  These desires are beginning to be met with new designs.


Millennial Workplace Trends for Your Office

This article tackled some very important points about how businesses today can arrange and design their offices and workplace policies, and promoted ideas like these:

  • Make the office feel more like a home, with couches, lounge areas, fireplaces, big screen TVs, and a stocked kitchen area

This image is of the offices of Getty Images in Seattle, used with permission.Getty Images in Seattle,WA - with permission

  • Change policies around working hours, so that workers can work whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, without having to "turn off creativity" when they leave the office
  • Create "collaboration zones" where workers can gather to tackle a project or brainstorm a presentation; zones could be booths for 3-4 or medium-sized conference rooms with white boards

This picture is from the offices of Zappos, in Las Vegas - used with permission.Zappos in Las Vegas, NV - with permission

  • Offer flexible workspaces so employees can move around to different parts of your building to work, depending on whether they need quiet, want to stand, need to collaborate, etc.  (Many have called this set up a "hot-desking environment" where workers can grab any workstation or area to work on any given day, which seems to be the set up for the innovative new office for Sky News in London).
  • Better align your workplace with the mission of your company; if your company is focused on the environment, your workplace should reflect that (perhaps with the methods for trash & recycling, or with sustainable office furniture like bamboo desks, etc.)

These ideas are excellent and can go a long way toward increasing worker productivity, satisfaction, work/home balance, and even health! 


Benefits of Millennial Office Design

We don't say "health" lightly, either.  Working in this new way, with more openness, less competition, more collaboration, and more flexibility actually DOES lead to better health - mentally, emotionally, and physically!

  • Mental health is improved as workers feel more valued at work, and also when they feel better about their work/home balance. 
  • Physical health is improved as workers are able to move around the office, using standing desks or standing while meeting, or even walking on a walking trail at the office while discussing an idea. 
  • And our physical and mental health certainly impacts our emotional and spiritual well-being, so changing the ways offices are arranged can have a positive impact on employees on basically every level!  (And healthier, happier employees are typically much more productive employees).

As more and more companies are filled with fewer baby boomers and more millennials, altering workplaces to reflect this changing demographic will become less an eclectic luxury of the technology company and more a necessity across industries.

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