As the heyday of the Baby Boomer passes into memory, the millennial generation is sliding in to take over the reins, and it’s having an effect on most aspects of society.
The White House reports that millennials already make up one-third of the U.S. population and that proportion will continue to grow. The Brookings Institute estimates that by 2025, millennials will make up fully 75 percent of the workforce.
Most sources are defining millennials as being those born between 1980 and 1995, so most of this generation is under 35. This demographic has a lot of unique characteristics that shape how they view work and what they want out of life. They are the first generation who can’t remember life before the Internet, and this is reflected in their attachment to technology. They value connection in the real world as well, with a preference for collaboration and opportunities for social interaction.
Millennials are also concerned with environmental issues and want to contribute to their communities. They favor living and working in city centers, where commutes are short or non-existent, and the amenities of the city are easily accessible. All of these characteristics come together and can be seen in spaces like the Now Company’s office in NYC’s Flatiron District.
Attracting and Retaining Top Millennial Talent — What it takes
All of these factors are significant to employers looking to attract and retain top talent. This has led to the rise of the open office and to the increased emphasis on lifestyle amenities in the workplace. A major 2013 study from Price Waterhouse looked at the workplace priorities of 40,000 millennials and found some common expectations in terms of a desirable work environment:
– Higher priority on work/life balance and workplace flexibility
– Strong cohesive, team-oriented culture
– Opportunities for interesting work
– A work environment that emphasizes teamwork and community
– Transparency around company decisions
– Greater expectation to be appreciated in return for their contributions
– Flexibility in where they work and how much they work
These expectations have helped drive the development of more flexible workspaces, where private offices are being replaced with more task-specific spaces and common areas that encourage the spontaneous exchange of ideas.
Millennials at Work
Expectations of work/life balance have meant the introduction of workplace amenities like gyms, outdoor spaces, coffee bars, and the like. Walkability scores big points with millennials, so office space in lively urban neighborhoods, near amenities like museums and dining, is going at a premium.
The millennials are even affecting the construction of commercial space. Concern about sustainability leads millennials to prefer working in an energy-efficient, “green” building. This is evidenced by the tremendous growth in the number of applications being processed for LEED certification of commercial space. The number of square feet certified grows yearly, and is expected to near the 1 billion mark for the first time by the end of 2015.
Facilitating a healthy, connected, and efficient workforce is a byproduct of meeting these millennial expectations, so we see this trend toward more responsive workplace design as a win-win. However, for some businesses just getting off the ground or struggling with growth, it can be difficult to meet all of these desires without breaking the bank. Luckily, flexible office space solutions like coworking or office sharing with PivotDesk allow businesses to achieve these trendy ideals and please their millennial employees without signing long term leases.
The modern workplace is changing fast...
Are you keeping up?