If your company is like most American businesses, the majority of your workforce is made up of young (or youngish) Millennials. They have unique wants and desires when it comes to a workspace, and if your office design doesn't take those preferences into account, you could find it hard to recruit talent. Here are five of the design cues that Generation Y likes to see:
Something Unique. Something True. (But Nothing Borrowed or Blue)
Your marketing department should love this office design rule. Millennials want to work in a space that is unique and tied to the company for whom they work. While the perception might be that they are too jaded to respond to branding, they are actually too jaded to respond to bad branding. If you can find a way to create a motif that is unique to your company, it can become a draw instead of just a marketing ploy.
Food and Drink
Food and drink might seem like amenities, but to really attract Millennials, they need to be integrated throughout your office design. Your young workers will work before, during, and after the work day (frequently without asking for overtime), but they expect to be well fed and heavily caffeinated. If your culture allows it, finding space for a beer tap or two might not be a bad idea either.
Natural Light and Windows
Millennials love natural light. This means finding offices with ample glass lines and choosing an office design that shares the light as democratically as possible. At the same time, they also enjoy spaces with expansive views. This is one of the many things that you can do that will satisfy your Generation Y workers as well as attracting Generation X and Baby Boom talent.
Locations with Oomph
To say that Millennials like to work downtown is a bit over-simplified. Ultimately, they like to work in areas that offer a good balance of working and playing and that either have nearby residential options or that have places to live that are within easy walks, bike rides or trips via public transit. In many cities, areas adjacent to the CBD can actually be more desirable to Millennial talent (and, at times, more affordable to rent.)
Less Personal Space
Millennials know that they want some space of their own -- this is why studies show that the open office design model harms productivity and morale. However, they don't need a lot of space. First, they realize that they probably won't be at their desk that much. Second, they know that their mobile devices, flat screen monitors and paperless cloud-based filing systems take up less space than the office equipment of its past. Third, they don't believe that their rank necessarily justifies a bigger cube or office. In other words, when you promote them, you won't necessarily have to give them a bigger space just because.
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