According to the 2012 estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is expected that Gen Y employees will make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020. These statistics exhibit the importance of staying mindful of the emerging office and space planning trends. Recognition and adaptation to the new trends can either have a very positive impact on your company culture as we transition the new generation by easing integration of young and new talent and increasing creativity and office collaboration, or it can have a very negative impact on finding, fully utilizing, and ultimately retaining young talent if ignored.
The following trends are what we here at FastCubes.com believe will impact both our company and yours the most in the coming decade.
Alternative Workplace Strategies
Mobile and Remote Workspace
Although mobile and remote working is not entirely new, it is becoming the new norm for even entry level positions, whereas it used to primarily be reserved for higher level management. Instead of being tied to a place where they work, the new generation seems to be tied to a particular “way” of working, resulting in an increased demand for alternative workspaces, such as home-based working, drop-in spaces such as coffee shops and hoteling, non-company offices, and even satellite offices. This suggests that there will be a drop in the use of traditional office space, whereby affecting the number of workspaces needed, as well as the type of work spaces depending on your company’s industry and flexibility towards a mobile workforce.
In accordance with this trend, it is essential to have and offer the relevant technology and office space flexibility to accommodate the newly mobile workforce. Thanks to increase to high speed internet access, the decreasing price in information communication technology (ICT), and cloud computing all make mobile workspace cost efficient and accessible to every size of business.
In The Office
Generation Y is impacting traditional working life in a number of ways. They are knocking down walls and searching for a collaborative and socially connected work life, embracing and expecting modern technology in the work place, and they are ultimately not as tied to their desk or office chair as their Baby Boomer counterparts have been.
Office Planning with Collaborative Working Areas
There is a growing need for flexible and collaborative working space as Generation Y moves into the workforce. Cooperative and collaborative work spaces are what Gen Y’ers need and expect in order to stimulate creativity. This will mean the phasing out of tall cubicle walls and the introduction of shorter, more group oriented office layout with cubicle and table clusters instead of rows where discussions can be held with the immediate coworkers surrounding them, as well as across the room perhaps with other departments.
Generation Y’ers are seeing work more as a social opportunity in addition to a source of income. In addition to the collaborative working areas, Millennials are looking for “fun” areas where they are able to congregate and discuss both work and personal lives with their coworkers. These areas are used by Gen Y to stimulate creativity and further collaboration with their coworkers, and range from simple conference rooms to open spaces with activities available during break times. This could include workout areas, full service kitchens, quiet areas, and rooms with ping-pong and pool tables.
Gen Y are significantly more conscious of social responsibility and sustainably, which could be reflected in the demand for “green” practices in the office. Many of them look to companies who have similar values and practices, for example a company that has gone, or is looking to go, paperless. Additionally, Millennials are seeking access to natural light in the office in either communal areas or in the general office.
Up-to-date software and technology
For Gen Y, technology has been integrated into their everyday lives for years, and they will continue to utilize multiple forms of technology as they begin to take over the working world. This means access to up-to-date technology, as well as mobile capabilities. It will also mean the need to reliable wireless capabilities in the office for their devices, remote workspace options, and up-to-date software in their workspaces.
Employers of the next generation are faced with a number of office planning challenges to try and cater to the incoming workforce, while still maintaining the company’s culture. This is the first generation whose education was highly collaborative, therefore it can be predicted that this will translate into the way that they function in the workplace. It seems that the days of sitting idly in rows of cubicles for eight hours a day is over, and the time for flexibility, collaborative work spaces, with modern technology readily available is here.