They hate big banks, they work in weird and wonderful ways. They need their own kind of work space. Welcome to the world of the millennials, a generation of young people who have always known the internet.
These millennials worry less about not having a permanent work space but fret when they don’t have immediate access to free wifi or their mobile devices.
Millennials, defined as those who have reached adulthood around 2000, are expected to dominate the workforce by 2025.
What researchers have agreed on is millennials are definitely dictating changes in the workplace in terms of not only human resource practices but the physical workspace.
One advertising company in the US is certainly noticing the difference in how its millennial workforce operates. Grey Advertising in the US which employs over 1,000 individuals, 48% of whom fall into the millennial generation, noticed over the last few years that millennials communicated in a more informal way, thrived on collaboration, and love working in a community.
Separate space for Gen Ys
According to PSFK.com, the company has responded to the millennials by setting up an entirely separate office space for Generation Y employees.
Grey created a workspace called ‘Base Camp’ in its New York offices, a work environment exclusive to millennial associate account executives. While an individual employee still work with separate teams on client accounts, as a group, they share desk space, attend agency training in group, and learn from one another.The Base Camp community gives the millennials a structure that supports self-sufficiency but also allows key learning to be easily shared.
Connectivity is important to the millennials
At consultancy firm Accenture’s Arlington office, the 90,000 square-foot-office is built around providing its millennials flexibility, mobility, and connectivity, Washington Post reports.
Employees don’t have assigned work spaces but they reserve a space on days when they plan to come to the office. Lockers are provided for the employees to keep their belongings and ample charging outlets are provided to power devices.
These Accenture office has no L-cube partitions but have workstations set up in a long row with no partitions. None of the workstations have desk-top phones either, as phone communication is web based.
According to Washington Post, Accenture also employs the use of technology to provide ‘telepresence’ instead of physical meetings.
“The telepresence room replicates the experience of an in-person meeting with colleagues across the globe. The space is equipped with a semi-circular wooden table that faces a wall of LCD monitors. The screens show one’s faraway colleagues in real-time sitting at a table of the same style and size, allowing for a meeting that feels natural,” it says.
PewResearch Centre quotes US statistics saying that in 2015, the millennials will for the first time surpass the baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation rising to 75.3 million in number from 74.8 million in 2014.
Less structure, more casual meetings please
Cubicles in offices, a thing of the past?
Millennials, also known as Gen Y, rate having an engaging workplace a high priority, and ‘quality of meeting rooms’ as lowest, Knoll Inc’s senior director of workplace research, Michael O’Neill told CNN.
While baby boomers like structured face-to-face meetings, millennials prefer quick, casual meetings, their use of technology cuts out the importance of lengthy meetings and formal spaces.
A Deloitte’s survey of 7,800 leaders from 29 countries show that millennials are not as attracted to large global businesses compared to emerging markets, and have a high sense of social concern, with with 75% of those surveyed businesses are focused on their own agendas rather than helping to improve society. Millennials also point to technology, media and telecommunications as the most desirable sectors and provide skills they deem most valuable.
Millennials also have massive spending power. Advertising Age reports that millennials have an annual spending power of US$200 billion (NZ$271.8 billion) starting in 2017, and US$10 trillion in their lifetimes.
The world is still coming to terms with what catering to millennials is like. What is certain is, engaging millennials in the workplace is a more serious business than previously thought.