The millennial office design may not seem like it’s all that different from other office designs, but the key difference is that it puts an emphasis on the employee. In other words, the happiness and comfort of the worker is the most important thing in the office today. This is because this generation doesn’t settle for mediocrity and poor working conditions. They know they deserve better and are changing the face of the corporate world because of it.
It’s a known fact that our environment influences the way we work, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the way you design your office will influence how millennials work. As well as that, the right design can be what convinces a potential employee to start working for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the details of your design and match them to the style of your office and the taste of your employees.
Still, be sure to have some key points in your design that will really make it creative and support the values that millennials have.
1. Updating furniture
No office design is good without proper furniture. Not only should your desks and chairs be of this century, but you should also look into more creative solutions. The furniture is what makes people more comfortable and the main thing which can make or break productivity. This is mostly because faulty and uncomfortable furniture makes people sore and makes it harder to focus on the task at hand.
The most important piece of furniture in your design will be the office chair. An ordinary office chair won’t suffice anymore. You’ll need to invest in high-quality chairs which have adequate lumbar support so that your employees won’t suffer any damage to their backs from sitting down all day.
Another creative solution to this problem would be introducing standing desks or fitness balls to the office. With these components, your employees won’t be just sitting down in one position all day. They’ll be free to move around and stretch their legs a little, too.
If you really want to place importance on fitness with your furniture, you can invest in treadmill desks. This way, your workers will get their daily dose of exercise while completing all of their work assignments on time, too. Whatever you decide, it’s important that they have a healthy outlet to move and release the tension accumulating in their muscles.
2. Encouraging collaboration
Teamwork makes the dream work, or so the saying goes. In the case of millennials, this is definitely true. This generation doesn’t like working solo too much because it recognizes the value of teamwork. When more people work together on the same project they’re bound to finish more quickly as well as come up with much better and more creative ideas and solutions.
Millennials are killing the office cubicle, and it’s all for a good reason. People are sick and tired of being isolated from the world by four plastic walls. Collaboration is something that should be encouraged in the workplace as it makes for a much happier and healthier work environment. Thus, you should make use of the open concept.
Get rid of all your cubicles and lay the ground with desks. Shared desks are an amazing way to encourage collaboration and communication. Even if people aren’t working on the same project, they’ll be more comfortable asking each other for ideas and giving each other valuable advice.
The result will be much higher-quality content and nailed projects which otherwise would have been flops. As well as that, your design will influence people to see each other as friends rather than competition. This is valuable in any office because it shows people that they can achieve greatness when they work together not against each other. Harmony is the main benefit of the open space concept.
3. Getting in touch with nature
Involving nature in your design is also a creative way to relax your employees and give them a way to be even more productive. You can do this by replacing old windows with bigger ones. This way you’ll be letting in enough natural light to give your staff an energy boost and enough vitamin D to last through the day.
As well as that, you can add some office plants. That way, you’ll be investing in cleaner and fresher oxygen in the workplace. Not only does this make the environment more comfortable, but it also improves cognitive function and health.
Plants can be placed around the office in all shapes and sizes. From desk plants to larger potted plants to window flowers, anything is possible. You can also start your own office garden to give your employees a chance to take care of nature themselves. Millennials love being involved in group activities and contributing to fixing the major issues in the world. Having an office garden fulfills both of these needs.
As well as all that, you can splurge on an office fountain. With it, your employees will get to enjoy working with the sound of soothing water in the background. A fountain is also a unique way to refresh the office. Finally, as well as making it easier to work, the fountain will also add an air of elegance and sophistication.
4. Building relationships
Millennials don’t want to work with strangers anymore. It’s all about making friends and building quality relationships. In that spirit, it’s no wonder the aforementioned open space concept resonates so well with this generation. Aside from that, people will want opportunities to actually get to know each other.
Building a community reminds them that they’re a part of something bigger and that they have a higher goal to work towards. This is why most offices today place special importance on the break room. This is where your employees will see each other in a more relaxed stated and where they’ll be more open for conversation. Break times are there for them to talk about something else other than work; the question is, what?
It can be very hard finding common ground with someone you know almost nothing about. This is mostly why it’s so hard to build healthy and high-quality work communities. By simply redesigning your break room to include things people can bond over, you’ll be on your way to the work community you strive to create.
The first item on the list should be a high-quality bean coffee machine. Think about it, everyone drinks coffee. That means that everyone will have the need to use the machine. This is the modern equivalent to the water cooler where people could gather and just talk. It’s a great conversation opener, too, as you’re giving your staff something in common. Two people may start talking about how they take their coffee then find out many other things they have in common.
As well as that, coffee is great for replenishing energy and giving a mental boost. It’s bound to increase focus and productivity after the break is over. Overall, this is an investment for both you and your team.
If you want to take work relationships a step further, you can always add a ping pong table. In this scenario, your employees can also get a brief workout during their break and come back to their desks refreshed and ready to take on more challenges.
After a month or two with these changes, you’ll already see the overall mood improving and people being friendlier with each other. Who knows, maybe they even started hanging out outside of work and became great friends. Whatever the case, you’re one step closer to a work community that millennials thrive on.
5. Use modern technology
This is a generation that uses technology in every aspect of their lives. You can’t lag behind. Your office equipment needs to be state of the art and in line with the latest technological trends. No longer will older models of computers suffice as the only technological advancement your office uses.
Those who wanted to switch to modern technology years ago but couldn’t because their workers just didn’t understand it doesn’t have to worry anymore. The younger generation is digitally literate and will adore all the gadgets you provide for them. Start with the basics.
Computers and laptops are a must in any office and will let your employees finish their work more quickly and efficiently. Just make sure that the models are all newer and faster to make it even easier for your staff. As well as that, you’ll need to pay attention to the software you use. Having a well-oiled machine doesn’t mean much if you don’t use the right software to run it. You should research the best software your line of work uses and make sure your firm gets a hand on it. This will make your employees’ work much easier.
The software can be used for anything from accounting to automating everyday tedious tasks like sending emails. As well as that, you should pay attention to other kinds of gadgets that you can put in the office. Your meeting room, for example, would benefit greatly from an interactive board where you can truly bring your presentations to life.
Don’t stir away from tablets and smartwatches either. Your workers will have everything they need on them at all times without the need to carry any papers around or print anything out. This is also an eco-friendly approach to running a business, thus making you even more popular among millennials. They respond rather well to companies who take on social responsibility and work on minimizing their carbon footprint.
Redesigning an office can be demanding and challenging, but with the right tips, you’ll be on your way to success. Your employees are bound to appreciate all the hard work you put into the design and give back their tanks through increased productivity and efficiency. The kinder and more understand you are to your millennials the better you’ll resonate with them.
This is the generation that understands management and employees need to work together to reach the stars, not against each other. Providing the perfect working conditions only supports this view and give you a more loyal and happier staff.
Emily is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing & design. Researching, exploring and writing are her favourite things to do. Besides that, she loves animals and travelling.