Creating an Office Space Suitable for Multiple Generations

Today’s workplaces are seeing an increasing number of employees postponing retirement, meaning multiple generations are now working side-by-side in one space. This poses somewhat of a challenge for organisations when it comes to attracting, engaging and retaining employees and means there is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ solution. With up to four generations making up today’s workforce, it is crucial to consider the requirements and preferences of all to create a harmonious environment that suits every staff member.

The new year always sparks an acceleration of resolutions, fresh starts and perhaps somewhat optimistic promises – 2018 saw a 42% increase in gym members’ spending in January and February, for example. But it is also a time when we see a spike in refurbishment enquiries at CBS, as businesses look to refresh their offices for a new intake of candidates in spring.

We’ve highlighted some of the key things to consider when designing your office space for multiple generations – to ensure everyone’s needs are met.

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

The last of the Baby Boomers will be 65 in 2029 so it is still important to consider their preferences when designing your new office. As a whole, this generation is disciplined and much less technology focused, preferring individual offices with fewer distractions – as well as options to work ‘offline’ in a quiet space away from a screen, so as not to be overwhelmed by tech.

They are perhaps less comfortable with open plan layouts. However, they are also very team-orientated, so collaboration areas will enable them to gather together for work and socialising.

Generation X (1965-1980) 

Much like Baby Boomers, Gen X remembers life pre-internet so will appreciate offline work areas to help promote creativity. However, they are also adaptable to change and becoming increasingly ‘tech-savvy’ – understanding the part technology plays in flexible working and the work-life balance they crave.

It is, therefore, important to look at modern ways of working – introducing technology to enable flexible and agile working, with things like interactive meetings allowing for cultural changes with parents juggling work and childcare.

Millennials (1981-1996)

Generally speaking, Millennials are technology led and prefer flexible/agile working (with 89% saying they would rather be flexible on hours and work from home). They are also wellbeing focused and value a good work-life balance – with a fun and social workplace being high on their list of priorities.

Open, collaborative offices with breakout areas that encourage staff to get away from the desk to recharge, and social spaces providing food and drink, are ideal. Although designated quiet areas for interactive learning are also important, as Millennials are hungry to learn.

Don’t Forget Generation Z (1997-Present)

Finally, we have Generation Z – which will comprise 32% of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, according to Bloomberg’s analysis of United Nations data. Over the next few years, we will see a steady stream of Gen Z begin to trickle into the workplace, so it is vital to be aware of their values and what is most important to them, in order to incorporate these into the workspace.

The first true ‘digital natives’, this generation is ambitious and creative, and can quickly shift between tasks – using technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness. They are also keen to try out imaginative new approaches, so an open workspace that encourages collaboration and fosters creativity will allow their strong entrepreneurial spirit to shine through. Gen Z also favours offices that promote a healthy work-life balance and put an emphasis on staff wellbeing. 

At CBS, we understand just how diverse the workplace can be – it’s why we invest so much in our brief take process.  We strive to understand exactly who our clients are so we can ensure our designs are as unique as they are.

There are several tools that we use to ensure we capture a 360 degree view of how your employees currently operate, to enable us to completely understand who they are and their requirements. This allows us to propose designs that not only look amazing but improve processes and productivity.

Created bespoke to capture anonymous feedback, our staff satisfaction surveys provide invaluable information from your employees, which feed into our design process as well as providing an honest opinion as to the current condition of your workplace. The results of these surveys then allow our designs to really focus on the needs of your employees, regardless of their generation, enabling your employees to enjoy a workplace within which they can flourish.

We’d love to discuss our ideas with you, so please get in touch today to find out how we can help make your office space work for everyone in the office – no matter what their age.

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