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.
According to CBS, the new year is a time when a spike in refurbishment enquiries are seen, as businesses look to refresh their offices for a new intake of candidates in spring. As a result, the company has 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.
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 per cent 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.