In a recent smart phone commercial set around a graduation pool party, parents and college kids talk about the different bells and whistles of their phones. Aside from my amusement about the bragging about cool features, it also tells a story about generation and culture. Generation Y, or the Millennial generation, is highlighted. This generation has been targeted in workplace design as well. Why is that? To answer some of these questions, I have Sudhakar Lahade from Steelcase Workspace Futures to enlighten us on Generation Y's culture and workplace trends.
A workplace that fosters collaboration and connection between peers is where Gen Y would thrive. These features open opportunities for learning and mentoring from previous generations, Sudhakar says that one of the workplace trends that is attractive to Gen Y is providing an open environment. "They just want an open environment so that they can gain transparency of people, processes, projects and leadership thinking. In other words they want their leaders to be visible, want to hear them and see them in action. They want this most of the time but not necessarily 100% of time." This open environment leads to visual connection with peers and leadership thinking. Gen Y thrives in open and collaborative environment where they can be more innovative."
They want a workplace that is not limited to the 4 walls of an office. This generation lives and breathes technology and knows they are able to work despite being out of the office. Workplaces are defined as where they are productive: whether at home, in open team spaces in the office or even at co-working spaces.
Gen Y also seeks a progressive workplace that is up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology. Globalization and social platforms will continue to be part of our lives. Sudhakar shares that "Technology is Oxygen: integrate latest and greatest technologies and open social platforms… that is where the future is."
Create a variety of spaces that support different ways of working and keep Gen Y socially engaged. Think about intertwining work settings, with social settings and life settings (such as café, health & well being settings) at work. Flexibility is king. Alternative spaces in the workplace allows people to be productive outside their workstations and even outside the office. It is about being productive at anytime, anyplace.
Fill project spaces with mobile furniture so it can be easily reconfigured. It also allows them to personalize the space to how they need it to be at the moment.
Provide furniture settings that support overall health and well-being. Start looking at furniture that supports different postures, different work settings to office perks such as yoga memberships, continuing education and getting their hands on meaningful work.