The millennial generation, born typically after 1980’s and before 2004, is the generation transforming the workspace into happier space. When it comes to the workplace Millennials are not risking their happiness for a work environment they don’t love. Instead, if they are unhappy in the workplace, they will quickly move onto finding a work environment they love. Unlike the baby boomers who found a job and stayed in the same place until retirement. Often, Millennials are thought of as entitled, glued to cell phones, and lacking motivation. But the truth is that Millennials are changing the workplace to a happier and better place. Making the workplace employee happy is certainly a much more productive employee, regardless of the generation. According to an opinion article published in Forbes, by Larry Alton, says; “It’s frequently reported that Millennials want a healthy work-life balance, and the statistics suggest this is true. Millennial professionals want to work in an environment that prioritizes the health and happiness of its workers—even if it means giving up a bit of pay.”
Millennials are not necessarily looking for incentive packages such as 401K, or paid vacations. They are looking for the unique benefits that the facility can offer. They would prefer on-site activities, a gym, a juice/coffee bar and the option to bring your pet to work. A creative area to hang out encourages collaborating with others in the same building. Many Millennials are taking steps to find jobs that offer these perks. A plus that I found moving my offices across the river into the historic Starrett-Lehigh building in Chelsea would attract Millennials to seek employment with my firm.
Just like the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, so are the traditional cubicle office spaces. Creating a new design trend in the workspace to fit the needs of Millennial’s was more strategical than challenging. Vast open floor plans with elements of the past are effective and efficient in the foundation of the design. Exposed rebar is a reminder of the beautiful architectural past. Millennials’ strongly favor the repurpose and sustainable, more than any other generation ever. They love a lofty comfortable look, a laid-back atmosphere, surrounded by an environment that promotes collaboration and teamwork. The workstations strategically placed throughout the space with lots of shareable seating is ideal for brainstorming sessions. A place where the team can leave that boring board room, for comfy plush seating, while incorporating adaptable furniture is suitable. Instead of the old stuffy board rooms that held a twenty-foot long table, we opt for an inviting meeting room. Neon lights with inspirational sayings replacing the old black and white pictures with sayings such as “Your Attitude Will Determine Your Altitude.” is a thing of the past.
Flexible furniture should be used in the area to support one-on-one meetings. Instead of a wall divider, writable oversized wall surfaces can be used to separate the space using the board to collaborate with others or to use as a giant fun board to jot down the “BIG” ideas. These design solutions integrated with better technology in the space are crucial. Although you want the space to foster collaboration, a small dedicated space for alone time, to meditate or recharge the human batteries is a must. The semi-private room must have a zen-like feeling to accommodate one creative individual at a time.
The use of natural elements in the workspace such as Rustic wood finishes, natural earth tones along the walls, with a little punch of color in several areas of the office can offer the ideal design. Millennials are the tech-savvy generation, and having accessible tools in the workplace is just as important as the design. Our design team uses the tools they need when creating a wall color schedule using Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap® – Try On Paint Colors app. This app helps create the perfect paint color right from the web, iPad or iPhone to create a design space showing the color before it’s on the wall.
Natural lighting is a plus, adding state-of-the-art LED lighting with the strategical planning of fixtures to achieve the best natural light possible. For the offices with a terrace, some lounge woven-wicker like furniture is ideal for a nice break or just to soak up some vitamin D. A beverage dispenser by True Manufacturing alongside their compact fridge is a refreshing addition to the great outdoors. Enjoying the outside without leaving the office; you may never want to go home, bringing a new meaning to the words “working late at the office again?”
Thanks to Millennials who are transforming the workplace into a happier and better place.