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Apr04

Office Design Critical In A Post-Loyalty Age

Employing millennials?

Office Design Critical In A Post-Loyalty Age

You really can’t afford old-fashioned thinking when it comes to office design.

Workplace Insight, quoting a small-scale study of 500 younger people joining the workforce in the US, conducted by ReportLinker, claims that millennials are feeling less and less loyalty to employers – meaning the keys to both a productive and a loyal workforce, building up the institutional memory your business needs to survive, are more and more going to be perks and office design.

After things that don’t necessarily count as perks in the UK workplace, like healthcare and paid sick leave, the ability to work flexibly is Perk #1 in the new landscape of millennial working, getting 47% of all mentions in the survey of elements that increase their workplace loyalty. 22% of the respondents ranked flexible working as essential in any company they could stay at.

While flexible working by its very nature is not tied to a particular space, office design can ensure that the workplace can be as flexible as possible while on site, and thus reduce the requirement on staff to find other locations to work from. 70% of those polled said they work flexibly as often as they can – if you want that to mean something other than working from home or working from their favourite net-connected coffee shop, be smart, design smart, and build millennial loyalty into the very fabric of your office, with areas set aside for less formal working, rather than chaining young people to their desks if they want to work.

Suggestions for other perks that can be designed in to your office concept included access to free snacks, access to some sort of gym facility on site, nap pods and relaxation areas, to bring the outside, leisure environment into the office, and so discourage those who are less concerned with traditional concepts of employer-loyalty from leaving for what they see as good reasons.

Beyond the added incentives to keep a new generation of workers working, there are office-build options to enhance the effectiveness of millennials in the workplace by underlining their understanding of team and power structures. Eliminating the isolation that cubicle-based offices bring encourages them to think in terms of team goals, while offices without closeable doors give a sense of the hierarchy being more notional than it was in previous generations, encouraging them to think more creatively and feed their thoughts more directly into ‘higher’ levels of the team.

The world of work is changing, as are those who will fill it. Offices are going to have to adapt, both in terms of their fundamental design and their culture, to maximise the potential of the new workforce and find ways to encourage, engage and advance the aspirations of the millennial and post-millenial generations.

 

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