Just What Makes a Workplace “Millennial-Friendly”?
There’s no shortage of insight regarding the Millennial population. In the CRE industry, we continue to search for the key drivers in today’s workplace that are most attractive to this group. As the largest working demographic, we need to pay close attention to what interests them.
Workspaces That Attract Millennials: Five Pillars
What do Millennials want in a workplace? We’ve learned that providing a space that offers combined aspects of home, hospitality, and work helps our newest generation of adults be more productive. These days, our Millennial-friendly workplace design philosophy is based on these five “pillars”:
- Food Amenities
Due to the digital and social media they’ve grown up with, Millennials tend to blend work and personal time. Work isn’t strictly a 9-5 job anymore, with a set hour out for lunch; instead, teams see lunch as another opportunity to collaborate in the office. Clients are asking us to design pantries and kitchens as open hubs for interaction, with eating and socializing taking place at the heart of the office, rather than being an enclosed, tucked-away function.
- Game Room
Millennials work hard and play hard, and the luckiest of them get to mix work and play, quite literally! We’re increasingly aware that simply sitting all the time is not healthy, so to help keep all generations of workers well, we build in activity. Progressive companies foster “active design,” for example, by locating printers a healthy walk away from people’s workstations. And on one recent project, we were asked to design a game room with a pool table and a Wii system to up the activity level for fun-loving Millennials.
- Mobile Bar
Inspired by the food carts that so many urban Millennials frequent, this “moveable feast”—a bar cart stocked with healthy beverages, fruit, maybe energy bars—makes the rounds to remind workers that it’s a time to take a break.
- Relaxation Room
According to demographic studies (and my own parenting experience), Millennials crave constant activity, even while working. JZA+D has learned how to design offices that create this exciting hubbub, while still providing a level of acoustical smoothing by incorporating white noise and other sound-masking techniques. Nevertheless, it’s popular among our clients to provide a separate space, a dedicated quiet room for relaxing, where people can go to take a break, stretch or meditate.
- Collaboration Space
We’ve learned from our Millennial coworkers that collaboration can happen in a variety of ways, not just around a conference table! Thanks to technological innovations like laptops and wifi, we’re free from cables and giant monitors and can collaborate in many different types of space. So, we create “huddle” rooms or spaces and lounge areas with furnishings ranging from low, soft seating to the increasingly popular bar-height countertops where people can gather standing or perching on stools, sometimes viewing a screen at one end of the counter.
Not Just for Millennials?
Many companies who don’t have room within their own suites for “Millennial amenities” still want to provide quality break space for their employees. Right now, we’re doing about half-a-dozen projects for developers who are converting older buildings and adding amenities into the building common area that attract Millennials—and also attract the companies that employ them. For these buildings, we’re designing new central food-service facilities, as well as gyms and fitness centers, and shared conference facilities.
At a time when many firms are right-sizing their own private quarters for a more mobile workforce—reducing the sizes of offices and other work areas—shared amenity space, in either the suite or the building, attracts highly sought-after employees, and makes them even more productive.
Thank you for the blog Vinny DiMeglio! Vinny is Director of Colliers International in Princeton. He specializes in the acquisition and disposition of office space, and he is focused on both tenant and landlord representation.
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