Looking at the Office Space Requirements for Different Generations:
When you have a workforce with generational gaps spanning forty-plus years, designing an environment in which everyone feels comfortable can be a challenge. With the first few cohorts of generation Z making their way into the workforce in recent years, the social and cultural differences couldn’t be much wider.
Each has different needs, desires, tastes, and styles of work all of which need to be addressed. It’s not just the management team who needs to be flexible in their approach, as office designers we need to take this into account too.
By accommodating each of these unique requirements, you’ll be providing the right surroundings to allow each person’s skills, talents and creativity to flourish whilst also making sure they stay comfortable, productive and happy. It’s no easy task balancing each of these, seemingly contradicting, elements but as they say, “nothing worth doing is easy”.
So, let’s get to it, here are a few guidelines to bear in mind when creating an office space that balances the needs of all these groups.
Group 1: Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)
The backbone of any company, Baby Boomers are usually quite traditional in their approach to work and often exhibit a strong and independent work ethic. They tend to crave familiar routines, security and a connection with the other employees, often leading to them being treasured and trustworthy members of the team.
However, they’re the generation which are, generally speaking, the least comfortable with technology and prefer more analogue ways of working.
If you’re creating an office with the Baby Boomer in mind, offering plenty of private offices and cubicles can really aid their independent working habits. We also recommend keeping overly technological settings to a minimum and optimising the space to allow plenty of natural light to enter.
Group 2: Generation X (1965 – 1980)
Although comfortable with digital technology, they also grew up in the time before the internet, so tend to appreciate aspects of offline working as well as online.
Hard working, resourceful, very focused and keen to move up the ladder, they benefit most from a combination of private offices and group working spaces and usually prefer the interior design to offer non-hierarchical working spaces encouraging collaborative efforts between team members.
They’re also aware of how clever office design can help them feel more comfortable at work, improve their health and boost productivity. This means features like standing desks, adjustable desk heights, invisible wiring and other comfortable furniture are often appreciated.
Eco-issues are also very important to them, so include recycling facilities, reducing single-use plastics and using recycled material within the office design itself certainly would appeal to their socially conscious mindset.
Group 3: Millennials (1981 – 1996)
Millennials usually make up the bulk of the team.
Raised in the years technology was really beginning to take off, Millennials believe that they should be able to work at anytime from anywhere and, as such, don’t require as much face-to-face time as the Baby Boomers or Generation X. They’re also big team players who love open spaces where they can collaborate and share ideas. It’s about finding a good balance between personal working and group efforts, something a well laid out office can certainly help with encouraging.
Generally, millennials tend to prefer light and minimalistic spaces with a touch of personality, turning the office into a welcoming and unique space. Office designs focused towards millennials should be interactive, incorporate the brand and showcase a wealth of tech functionality such as charging ports and hotdesking stations.
Keen environmentalists, they’ll appreciate an eco-friendly office design which utilises recycled and plastic-free materials wherever possible. They are more likely to operate on a paperless basis so you can get creative with those more traditional filing cabinets or even eliminate them altogether by shifting to a cloud-based document storage system.
Group 4: Generation Z (1997 – 2010)
The youngest generation on our list, most of whom have grown up using the internet making digital technology an integral part of their lives.
Whilst being very independent and competitive workers, they need a clever balance of quiet working space and collaborative spaces. Open-minded and not shy to bring a sense of fun to the workplace, these are the employees who will be most receptive to trying something different and don’t need a traditional office to work at their best.
Design your office space to include plenty of interactive and fun features that utilise technology wherever possible to allow them to exercise their creativity, stay focused and produce wonderful things for your brand. If you have space, it’s also beneficial to bring wellness opportunities into the office by offering rooms for fitness classes, meditation or yoga practice where possible.
We understand that there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the design of your office, and it might be nigh on impossible to accommodate each requirement for each generation. Ultimately, it’s about knowing your own workforce and creating an office environment that fits their norms and tendencies as best you can. With careful planning, you can create an inclusive, comfortable and on-trend office space that fosters productivity, creativity and company loyalty for all.
Find out how we can make the best office designs come to life here.