With 2015 rapidly winding down, we wanted to take a quick look back at some of the most impactful news from the industry in the last month. It has revealed an increasing focus on the wants and needs of the younger generations in the workplace, which are becoming dominant forces in today’s offices.
New surveys shed light on Millennial preferences in office perks
One new story that really put that trend into perspective was a recent poll released by the professional staffing service firm Addison Group, which highlighted a handful of interesting details on just how Millennials differ in their workplace preferences from other generations.
Contrary to very popularized stereotypes, Millennial respondents in the Addison poll didn’t go all in on the flashy perks you would normally expect, like foosball tables and nap rooms. When asked which workplace perks might get a Millennial prospect to pick one company that pays a lower salary over another, the top answers were free meals/snacks/beverages (40 percent of respondents) and tuition reimbursement (36 percent).
What does that finding tell us? Perhaps that Millennials are shifting their priorities around an increased amount of time spent in the workplace (hence the request for meals to supplement their extra stay in the office), as well as the rising costs of higher education. In a less-than-surprising reveal, though, nearly twice as many Millennials as Boomers (15 percent to 8 percent, respectively) valued work-sponsored happy hours, to promote socializing and openness among their peers.
A separate survey conducted by Microsoft also found that 65 percent of Millennials value collaborative workspaces with co-workers, contrary to the popular misconception that younger generations prefer to stick to screens than actual face-to-face interactions. Just the opposite: 51 percent said they prefer meetings that are conducted in-person when working together on projects, underscoring a desire for open workplace environments that promote workplace productivity and collaboration.
London students conceive future workplace with mix of shared and isolated spaces
HÅG, the Norwegian furniture brand, recruited a group of London students between the ages of 16 and 18 for a workshop on the future of workplaces – or more specifically, how they would imagine and design future workplaces. Their ideas ran the gamut of colorful and cutting-edge, mixing in futuristic choices like environmental holograms projected onto walls or office pods suspended in mid-air, with more contemporary ideas like a gym, doctor’s office, kitchens, gardens and a “Netflix room.”
But perhaps the most interesting choice was how the students envisioned isolated vs. shared workspaces for a flexible working environment. Rather than leaning toward one over the other, their ideal workplace balanced the two: allowing for isolated “working pods” that employees could climb into (and would then be raised upward) for any private time they needed, but still emphasizing shared ground-floor spaces for collaboration and socializing.
And while the idea of an elevating working pod is probably a bit further off into the future, it does show us that even Generation Z is thinking about how to maximize workplace utilization (in this case, high ceilings) for productivity, and do so in a way that facilitates both private working areas and open, shared spaces.