Running jokes about millennials aside, the truth is that they represent a significant portion of the modern workforce. On top of that, millennials have tapped into some positive workplace-related habits that previous generations should have capitalized on years, if not decades ago. It’s only natural that the modern workplace would shift to represent millennial work culture in an effort to draw in more talent.
If your company is in the same boat, it pays to invest in modernizing the workplace to entice millennials to join the force. However, any such changes are not exclusive to that particular work demographic. Everyone can benefit from a workspace that focuses on key human-centric elements in an effort to boost communication, morale and productivity. Read on to find out how you can accomplish the same.
THE OPEN SPACE MODEL
The open concept workplace has quickly become a mainstay of modern business culture, but it didn’t take long for its inherent weaknesses to become apparent. Since then, the focus has been on tacking up the open concept work model to mitigate issues like excessive traffic and noise, which can actually cause a decrease in overall work productivity.
Nevertheless, the open model is still popular, especially thanks to continuous refinements over the last few years. Millennials greatly enjoy a communicative and expressive work environment where they can interact with one another like friends in a coffee shop, as opposed to mindless drones chained to their cubicles. The latter was parodied to great effect in the classic Mike Judge comedy Office Space, which is now cited as a key piece of cultural commentary that led to the open office approach.
The familiarity and camaraderie of an open office environment can lead to great things, but as mentioned before, there are weaknesses to the original concept. Since then, companies have been balancing out openness with privacy, creating niche spaces where employees can hunker down and focus on their work, with no distractions. Part of this was led by the flexible workspace movement, and derivatives like hot-desking, both of which encouraged employees to get up and travel to different spaces around the office in order to liven up their day, and refresh their minds.
Millennials aren’t the only ones to benefit from shaking up the status quo. This relaxed and open atmosphere fosters a sense of community, not to mention trust between employees and owners. Millennials are somewhat obsessed with the idea of sharing in the joy of making a business grow and prosper, as opposed to simply being a cog in the overall machine. The more interaction employees have with others, the better everyone feels, provided there is a counterbalance. Introverts, and extroverts alike must both coexist in the same space, without one stifling or impeding the other.
THE “HOME” FACTOR
Stuffy cubicles, awful carpeting and depressive fluorescent lighting are largely a thing of the past, and few are sad to see the era go. Millennials have spearheaded the “home” factor; that is, the blending of comfort and relaxation normally associated with the home, with the work-related focus of the office.
Today’s millennials are very interested in feeling relaxed and rejuvenated while at work, and certain creature comforts help boost that tenfold. Modern workplaces abound with comfortable couches, ergonomic desks and office furniture, and nifty break rooms that double as work areas. The objective is the “work from home, without working from home” approach, which staunchly refuses to trade comfort for stress.
The proof is in the pudding, as well. Statistical data shows that workplaces who have adapted the “home” factor report happier, healthier employees who end up shaving off up to two-thirds of their annual sick days. More time at the office means more productivity, and in turn, greater profits. It’s a win/win for both, and a great way to impress your clientele who drop in to see your employees smiling and bursting with positive creative energy.
COLOUR THEM IMPRESSED
It’s almost routine at this point, but colour has become a staple piece of criteria when crafting a great millennial-focused office space. Today’s workers are heavily influenced by the use of colour in an office environment, and choosing the right ones can really boost morale and productivity in a big way. Greens and blues can create soothing and relaxing vibes, while red and orange can excite certain creative types. Earth tones can lend an aura of distinction and class to an office, while yellows and purples inject happiness when used in the right amount.
The key is to make sure that colour is used appropriately for the space, and that it doesn’t violate your company’s work philosophy and atmosphere. Incorrect use of colour can create chaos in an office, so if you’re unsure how best to use it in your space, it’s a great idea to contact an office design company like Sensyst, who will go in and optimize everything the right way.
DON’T SKIP ON THE FUN STUFF
Work/life balance is truly important to most millennials, but it’s advantageous for just about any employee of any age group. Too much work makes Jack a dull boy, which is why Jack (and Jill, for that matter) need some amenities to keep them smiling. Millennials are fitness-focused, so it’s good to create a workout area with weights, a treadmill and a few other health-related items so they can blow off some steam after a hard day, or finish a few reps on their lunch break.
Similarly, it’s good to invest in a fun break room with games that can clear the mind, get employees laughing and high-fiving, and forge new friendships in the process. Foosball and table tennis are great additions to any game room, but if you have the space, consider plunking down a high-quality billiards table. And of course, don’t forget to organize some interoffice tournaments and competitions for fun and silly prizes. A little laughter goes a long way.
There are numerous ways to attract millennials, but they shouldn’t be your main focus. Instead, follow their lead when it comes to banishing the stuffy work attitudes of the past, and embrace the comforts and positivity of a workspace that resonates with their life philosophy. Even old fuddy-duddies will find themselves infected by the fun, and they’ll be eager to join in and help create a highly productive, efficient and happy team.
For more information on how to “millennialize” your office workplace, contact Sensyst today. We’ve identified all the trends that make for such a space, and we’ve even invented quite a few, ourselves! We’re interested in hearing about your goals to attract new talent, whether millennial or otherwise.