An Overview of Millennials and the Changing Workplace

The battle for millennial talent is in full force. This demographic now outnumbers baby boomers as the largest in the US, according to 2016 Census Bureau Data. They are going to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020. Furthermore, millennials possess the highly specialized skills that companies require to succeed in a digital world. Your organizations success depends on this future workforce.

A look at the current state of millennials and workplace change:

Changing Expectations

Millennials expect different things out of the workplace. They will be leading organizations in the next decade, but it won’t be from a corner office. While millennials are ambitious and seek out the ability to affect change at their organizations, they would rather do it from an open office layout.

Millennials value open spaces and the potential for collaboration with their peers. These open layouts also give them more direct access to executives and decision makes in the organization. As a result, those planning workplaces are very aware of the need to balance open space with different types of collaborative areas.


Demanding More Technology

A new Dell and Intel study found that almost half of millennials are willing to quit their job if a company’s office technology is not up to their standards. In addition, more than 80 percent of millennials say workplace tech would have an influence when deciding to take a job. Savills and the British Council for Offices (BCO) found a similar sentiment across the pond in their What Workers Want 2016 report. More than half of UK workers find their office technology inadequate.

What type of technology do they find most effective?

A recent Samsung and Frost & Sullivan survey of 500 IT and line-of-business managers and executives in the U.S. found huge benefits through the use of mobile devices at work. This included a reported 34 percent gain in productivity.

Simple add-ons in the office can help bolster this productivity and enable flexibility for millennials. Designers are speccing solutions like wireless charging to provide a cost effective approach to ensuring that Millennial’s most important devices remain usable.

How the Workplace is Adapting

  • Workplaces are responding to the requests of millennials. For example, organizations are spending more on furniture for common and collaborative areas. These collaborative areas exist outside of the traditional open office layout. They provide areas where millennials can connect and interact casually with their peers and more senior employees. Additionally, other considerations like technology are being implemented to ensure that millennials have true mobility within the workplace. Hot desking is a great start.
  • Traditional corporate cultures are learning to adapt, and foster this changing workplace. This requires adoption and acceptance of employees utilizing different spaces and even different devices to complete work.
  • Third spaces are another area that provide employees a retreat from their traditional desks. In there areas more informal conversations and meetings can occur. For example, firms like CBRE are including a signature RISE Café at their new Canadian locations. It acts as internal third space option for employees and creates connections across multiple departments.
  • More choice in work locations also means that technology solutions are following millennials out of their desks and into common areas and third spaces. As a result, more connected offices are coming online, that equip millennial employees with the tools they need to succeed. This is a huge draw for the many millennial employees that express a desire for flexibility and better workplace technology solutions.

For more on how to create workplaces that fit millennials needs, like these 10 amenities that Millennials and Gen Z want, subscribe to Workspaces and never miss out.

Data for infographics: The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016PwC – Millennials at Work. Reshaping the WorkplaceHBR – What Do Millennials Really Want at Work?EY – Millennials: “Generation Go”Dell – Future Ready Workforce, NY Times – As Office Space Shrinks, So Does Privacy for WorkersKnoll Workplace Research – The Metrics of Distributed WorkHuffington Post – NeoCon 2016 – The Year the Cubicle Disappeared?, McKinsey&Co The World at Work