There is always one or the other tech giant’s new office making news for all the bells and whistles its offering. Lately, Amazon’s Seattle office “spheres” was in news for its forest like ambiance with over 4000 trees and plants inside. RBS and Pepsi in Gurgram, both provide a fairly generous area for creche to help young mothers. We’ve all heard rumors about Google’s office – massage chairs, free cabs, gym, free foods etc. Facebook embraces its young startup culture with an internal bike shop. The youngest generation to hit the labor pool has set off a tide of new office space style, demands, and wishes.
By 2020, millennial will make up 60-70% of the working population. While not all the millennial want to start or work at a startup, their needs are very different than previous generations, by and large because of how they have been exposed to technology in a big way since childhood, — and not every industry has adapted to these changes caused by technology. As a landlord looking for tenants or an employer looking to set up a new office space, regardless of the industry, keep some basic things in mind which are key to the millennial who will be occupying the space.
The generation Z cannot imagine a professional life without a high speed internet connection. Google it up! Ask Siri! There is an app for it! These are the very cliches about the new generation to say the least. Its very important that your premise can handle the need of constant information seamlessly, when peers and competitors are just a whats app, email, or tweet away? The workplace must adapt to working from anywhere, connecting with global offices, data security, big data churning, and mobility within the office itself. For example many in real estate and retail industry is adapting the augmented/virtual realty apps that provide 3D view of any site, or have the ability to provide real time experience to users and such things require a seamless and highly secured internet connection.
More Collaborative and Flexible
While the jury is still out on this, but an open and collaborative layout of complete office is just as important. The young generation startups have a strong believe in things like open source, sharing and collaboration, and most new billion dollar companies like Uber, Airbnb, WordPress are good example of how most business these days can be made around sharing and collaboration. This collaborative mind set drives innovation and thereby also very evident with how they work at the office in little things like breaking into impromptu huddles on a stair, working in small collaborative pods, having team outings for lunch or dinner. Cubicles of a traditional office space which emphasize on individual work are now out instead what you find now are small pod stations, lounging areas, open huddle areas, bigger cafeterias for meetings. An open office also makes employees feel they are also in the game as everyone else and their opinion also is contributing the end goal of the organization. So open and flexible is the key word as far as the layout of furniture and fixtures inside the office. Sit with your interior designer/architect and go over the kind of work that you do and ask them to incorporate a successful collaborative environment which best serves your business needs and employees.
Branding and Culture
Culture of an organization is basically a set of values and assumptions that it holds very dearly and can often times make or break it. It’s a very subtle thing and cannot be seen very evidently at a cursory glance. As discussed above most companies want to show their work culture as open with no hierarchies, therefore, an open work space is half job done, a closed space with lot of cubical may by design express control, fear and hierarchy. More and more in young generation swear by brand loyalties, surely does reflect on the choice of their smart phones, laptops or clothing. Branding’ has become a way of telling the company’s story—what the company is about and what their core principles are, that could be shown in the office by having display areas, color of furniture, environmental graphics, or use of visual story telling tools to express about your organizational culture and brand value
Offices are extensions of Home
The increasing global work environment require millennial to be on toes all the time. Earlier it was 9-5 jobs than later after our economy opened up in early 90’s some people started working the late night shift and before we knew by early 2000’s the internet and technology made it a 24/7 work environment. Smart phones are so integral to millennial, they are constantly consuming loads of information, won’t mind replying to an urgent early morning email form a counterpart sitting in another part of the globe. Work-life balance is no longer important but a way of life and a seamless integration between the two is very important. That’s why sleeps stations, gyms, libraries and even bars are common in offices these days. Amazon’s new office literally provides constant fresh air and an outdoor environment as and when you want, so one never feels like going outside.
The key thing is, if hierarchy reigned through the 1970’s and 80’s; today, it’s more about mixing. Ultimately you have to keep the goals and culture of your organization, one of the best approach is to communicate with your employees. Make a plan about the cost, talk to your employees to know about their needs and workout accordingly. The speed at which new smart phones and apps hit the market place kind of tells how the new generation is constantly pushing for better and better, same goes with office trends, there’s always something new, better amenities new perks, Your employees have this constant urge to stay ahead & feel something new and you can help them do it by reinventing the work place design.