The Millennial Workspace
July 26, 2016

The Millennial Workspace
The office construction industry continues to grow at a consistent rate, but much of that construction is geared towards a new kind of office space. A new take on design inspired largely by an evolving office culture and the growing needs of its young staff. The millennial work force will soon outnumber older generations and offices are having to quickly adapt to accommodate them. Millennials are known for their ambitious, team-oriented collaborative working habits. They are driven by mobile technology and, by nature, have a different outlook on the working environment which is changing the landscape of the traditional office.

Open Meeting Spaces
Modern office design tailors to the needs of this new millennial presence with a heavy emphasis on supporting teamwork and creativity. More open meeting space areas and lounge areas are key to opening communication. Many of these meeting spaces might even be private isolation booths for more focused exchanges. Efforts to move away from isolation and towards collaborative environments sometimes means making adjustments by alternative means. Even unconventional meeting spaces, like cafes and kitchens where younger workers feel more comfortable and efficient, are becoming more the norm. Which reinvents the idea of break room areas as an extension of the office. Forever known as sacred off-the-clock havens, we're now turning them into added office space to cultivate more casual informal meetings during regular business hours and breaking the taboo of talking shop in the kitchen.

Indoor/Outdoor Design
Taking the green office environment to another level, nature-themed design brings gardens, trees, and plant life indoors. Feeling cooped up in a stale and lifeless cubicle farm can make you feel detached from the outside world - bringing plants inside can not only breathe more oxygen into the room, but could potentially make a day the office feel like a walk in the park. Plus, with many young companies favoring urban lofts and historic repurposed manufacturing facilities, the collection of existing concrete flooring, exposed piping, and brick or wood walls often lends itself to a more natural design that brings the outdoors in.

Flexible, Community-Oriented Layouts
We spend less time at our desk than ever before. We spend more time on our phones, tablets, and laptops than ever before. Our devices are getting smaller, therefore, the need for large personal workspaces is getting smaller. Since we're connected wherever we go, ownership of a personal space is not as important as it once was. Desks can even be transitioned into shared work spaces and benching stations. Hoteling with unassigned seating arrangements is another way to remain flexible for project-based collaboration. Glass doors and lowered partitions and privacy panels create more transparency, which in turn, develops a sense of community. Neighborhood work stations that are not segmented by departmental designations can help tie together workers from all areas of production.

Work from Home... at the Office
Another key element in modern office design is the idea of trying to recreate a comfortable environment that workers can understand. When workers started moving away from the office and working from home, bringing them back into the office requires a delicate touch. Coming back to a traditional office is hardly appealing to someone who has grown used to the comforts of their own home. Comfortable seating and lounge areas, plus basic amenities like recreational areas and fitness centers go a long way in making workers feel inspired. Communal areas that are conducive to social engagement help stimulate productivity when re-entering work zones. In an age where the worker experience is in some ways more important than salary and benefits, some simple additions can make all the difference in employee retention and office morale.

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