Future designing your office with the arrival of Gen Z
When the pandemic first broke, future of work was hotly debated and made splashing headlines. Covid has forced us to rethink the way we work and design our workspaces. Almost every responsible company is on the drawing board, wondering what changes to make, to ensure safety and wellbeing of the returning workforce.
If you too are deliberating ‘what should my future office look like,’ then this is perhaps the best time to create a fresh blueprint keeping in mind a whole new generation, which is joining the work force, starting just about now – the Gen Z, those born around the year 1995, 1996. Delve deeper into the question of what do my youngest employees need most in the office, and redesign from there might just be your starting point to get it right.
The arrival of the post-millennial
Millennials established the era of minimalism, collaboration and open-air offices. But there’s a new generation that will soon be calling the shots on the playground. You may find yourself already working with the oldest members of Gen Z but the majority are concluding their academic journeys and will soon be at your doorstep with their resume in hand. And when you find yourself making them an offer, it may be helpful to know that approximately 86% of them largely factor in your workspace and its environment.
The largest generation in the world currently, they will soon make-up one third of the workforce and here’s what they need from you to succeed:
1.Lead with technology
Tech trumps the lives of Gen Z. No quibble about that. Pay heed to the fact that this generation has never not known modern technology. They grew up with it, are cocooned by it and it’s fundamental to their daily lives and existence. From laptops, tablets to IoT devices, they’re used to multitasking, communicating and working on the go. What’s more, studies show that many of them state a smartphone as being their essential and preferred means of operating, almost everything!
Opting for design that is tech friendly and fully integrated into the office design, will allow them to hone in and maximize productivity. What’s more? It allows you to install tech upgrades for a smart building which boosts productivity for everyone at the same time!
2. Reintroduce personal space
Agile and efficient communicators, Gen Z is adept at networking, and being constantly plugged in. It also means that they operate much faster and better as a group or team; they’re effortlessly cohesive.
Despite preferring face to face interaction and connection, though, they’re also independent workers who value their personal space and privacy, fiercely. Combining privacy pods, quiet zones and some ‘me space’ with open floor plans will give them the ability to work together but also fly solo for some undisturbed concentration when needed.
3. Walking the talk of sustainability
Being the generation that is going to be here for the next 100 years, Gen Z has imbibed the importance of climate consciousness, firsthand. They’re informed, active and pursue it every step of the way be it ethical consumer goods choices, daily habits or opting for companies with a mindful culture. Sustainable, green design and practices are no longer optional if you want to woo Gen Z. You simultaneously pave the way for employee retention and reducing your carbon footprint.
4. Back to the basics with nature
Biophilic design is the in thing now. It’s an attempt to bring nature into the office. Be it indoor plants, vertical gardening or large windows and expanses facilitating natural lighting, employees benefit vastly from sunlight and fresh air. With longer working hours and rising stress levels, these measures tip the scales in favour of your employee being comfortable and wanting to dig in happily, in your office environment. Biophillic designs, a current rage are only likely to accelerate, with wellbeing becoming the cornerstone of office design. This is one aspect which crosses generations. Millennials want it too!
5. Gain an upper hand with amenities
Another aspect which cuts across generations is what amenities are built into the office. Employees spend a hefty chunk of their lives within the four walls of the office and as competition soars for the best talent, so do employee expectations. Gen Z expresses more, wants more and is unafraid of pushing the boundaries. Provided you make their lives, comfortable. They don’t go for the fuss or over the top. After all, this is a generation which has seen far tougher economic years, than the millennials. But smart, practical amenities are a must.
Be it tech-enabled interiors, breakout spaces, gaming and activity zones or coffee carts, these inclusions will make the workspace more appealing to the young ones in your team. It also helps to incorporate functional, flexible and ergonomic furniture that employees can reconfigure based on their mood, desires or working needs.
The bottom line
As the most diverse and educated generation in history with their pulse on just about everything, Gen Z are intuitive, conscientious, tech-savvy, goal-oriented and crave a definitive work/ life balance.
As it stands, the nuances of Gen Z personality traits call for an altered work environment. That being said, for long now, our workplaces have needed a facelift of flexibility, a degree of informality, expressive culture and sustainability measures.
The need of the hour, is to create a shaded design that will blend in the requirements of various generations co-existing in an environment. So go ahead and redesign the coolest office on the block, keeping all of this in mind.
Read more about the impact of Gen Z on workplace design
Discover more about what Gen Z wants at work
Read more about what makes Gen Z tick