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Millennials Driving Workplace Change

by David Smith

Millennials – that tricky bunch born between 1980 and 2000 and whom now represent over 33% of the workforce. Even more, the latest statistic states that by 2030 Millennials will represent 75% of the workforce. So, how are you preparing your workplace to retain this finicky generation?

There are a lot of studies and articles that describe the characteristics of the Millennial Generation. They primarily focus on the needs and behaviors of this group but give little focus to the workplace environment that they desire. However, that trend may already have been set in motion. It just needs to be tailored to incorporate the work behavior this generation prefers.

A few of the findings in the millennial studies are:

1)      Millennials place more emphasis on personal needs than those of the
          organization; and,
2)      State of the art technology is important to Millennials

These findings can be applied to the design of today’s workplace environment. A deeper look at the personal needs of millennials reveals that they are uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures and desire a more flexible approach, both in location and hours, to where and how they work. Millennials blend work and life more so than any other generation. They crave a comfortable and creative environment – it is where they feel they can be most productive.

Certainly we have seen a transition to more open, collaborative work environments in the past few years. Are you making these type of changes?

For Millennials, the line between work and home has become increasingly blurred; yet, many prefer to work in an office (due to social engagement) than alone. Thus, offices are becoming “meeting spaces” more so than a fixed location for them to work within.

Next, recent reports have indicated that Millennials supplement their own technology with that which is provided to them. This generational mentality of innovation without a “this is how things used to be done” mentality requires a dynamic shift not only in equipment but in the methods they employ to deliver results. Look at how AV has begun to incorporate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to the conference room.

Last, Millennials want to work alongside management. It is a breaking down of the traditional hierarchies as well as a need to be mentored. Through physical organization throughout the workplace opportunity arises to create employee engagement and retention. Today, one of the CEO’s biggest talent challenges is attracting and keeping your workers.

The Facility Management industry has complained that the FM does not have the ear of the CEO. Understanding generational change and workplace design is a key to opening the door for a conversation. Creating COMFORTABLE and PRODUCTIVE work environments can lead to employee retention and company growth.