What’s the definition of a millennial worker? They are driven by their desire for flexibility, thirst for the integration of technology in every possible aspect of the workplace, and are known for their search for work-life balance. These people, born between the 1980s and 2000s, is currently the largest workforce generation in the U.S., with about 53.5M participating in the labor market.
The strong influence of this generation doesn’t only influence workplace dynamics, but office design as well. Millennials, for one, are more comfortable lounging in cafes and open spaces, thanks to their inclination towards community and collaboration — something similar to the free-flowing college atmosphere. Companies that cannot offer these two elements are in danger of falling short of inspiring their employees or worse, fail to attract the talent they need.
No More Cubicle Farms
Now the walls are definitely shifting, the floor plans are changing. Cubicle-dominated workspaces are being scrapped in favor of more open perimeters, and recent concepts have even attempted to inspire the feel of “neighborhoods” by decreasing the height of wall panels and using fixtures with more identity.
Take for example the aviator desk, which is a more trendy version of the boring office desk. It caters exactly to the need of millennials for something “unique” while still providing the comforts of its more conventional counterpart. Writable glass walls are also a good example, which are an elevated form of boardroom whiteboards while also functioning as traditional glass divisions.
Aesthetic and Function in Office Furnishing
More than just the office layout changing, the importance of interior design is also bumped up the ladder. Industrial-inspired themes are seen as hip, and the spectrum to minimalist to eccentric is larger than ever. The surge of living plant walls, bean bags, hip food dispensers, aviator desks, and mismatched chairs are proof that aesthetics are just as important now as the function in the workspace.
Millennials are probably the most complicated of all generations, especially in the topic of the workplace. They want collaboration but like their own space, and they value openness while still desiring privacy. For employers, the challenge is to find the middle ground, one which can be reached through smart design and the right furnishings. The moment they find what makes this generation tick, productivity begins.