Today’s Construction Industry Is Busy With Millennial-Influenced Office Renovations
Not only have Millennials become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, they’re also redefining the way we work and where we work. This group, which is typically defined as those born between 1982 and 2000, currently represents more than half of the United States workforce. By 2020, they will outnumber both baby boomers and Gen X’ers combined.
If you own an office building, your tenants need to attract, hire, and retain Millennials. Millennials are also today’s entrepreneurs seeking spaces for their startup. A space representative of the brand they’re building and the company culture they want to cultivate.
So, what exactly do Millennials want? And how should employers and office designers or builders address these wants while carrying out office renovations?
Millennials Care About Office Location
Millennials very much have a “live, work, and play” lifestyle. They prefer offices in renovated historic buildings or urban warehouses and lofts. They like working in walkable neighborhoods accessible via public transportation or bike lanes. They want their office to be near coffee houses, boutiques, stores, restaurants, pubs, parks, etc.
In recent years, new construction projects – particularly suburban office park developments – have slowed a bit. Meanwhile, there’s been an increase in urban office renovations or tenant improvements. Old warehouses, firehouses, and loft apartments are being converted to office space and once-drab offices are being modernized with green sustainable office renovations and improvements.
Millennials Like Open Floor Plans
Yesterday’s office with high cubicles and corner offices promoted isolation, not collaboration. This is why open floor plans with bench desks and clusters of casual seating or standup workstations are what’s in right now. They let co-workers help one another, work in teams, and connect with each other as they work toward common goals and objectives.
Open spaces foster conversation and create a sense of community and shared purpose. This is good for team building, innovation, inspiration, big ideas, and an energized atmosphere. Management also becomes more approachable when they’re no longer off to themselves in some corner office. They’re instead working right alongside everyone else.
Millennials Don’t Require That Much Space or Privacy
Square footage and plenty of private offices used to be the selling point of office space. Today, people work from laptops. They are no longer confined to clunky desks or even the office in many cases. Millennials are the happiest when they can change their scenery and work from a variety of places. The ability to work freely throughout the office is important. Not to mention the fact that many companies today are flexible when it comes to letting employees split time between the office and working remote from home or a coffee shop. This means many companies simply don’t need all that much square footage anymore.
If a larger space is wanted, it’s usually to accommodate small phone booths for privacy or quiet during important phone calls, divided sections for specific team or group projects, nap rooms, a lounge or gaming area, a trendy cafe or health food bar, an outdoor space, lockers and bike storage, or an on-site gym. Perhaps it’s time to reimagine yesterday’s board room, corner office, or office kitchen?
Millennials Like Natural Light
Maximizing daylight is another trend among modern offices. High cubicle walls rob workers of natural light. And nobody is vibing on overhead fluorescent tubular office lighting anymore.
A company looking to appeal to Millennials is more inclined to take a space with plenty of natural light from windows or skylights. If privacy walls or cubicles are still needed, frosted glass dividers and low cubicle walls are preferred to maintain as much natural light as possible. Natural lighting renovations have been linked to happier more productive workers.
The Time Is Now To Ready Your Workspace for Millennnials
While no generation or demographic can be completely generalized, the above workplace preferences of Millennials are something any employer or office building owner needs to acknowledge. These aren’t short-term workplace trends or fads. It’s a complete shift of workplace culture that must be reflected whenever office space is being built or renovated.