If your office isn’t designed to accommodate every generation, you’re losing out on business potential.
That’s because, in the haze of buzzwords like “millennial” and “Gen Z,” employers are often neglecting the full spectrum of staff age – and expertise – they employ.
Take a look around your office. The odds are you’re going to see a whole lot of age diversity – from Baby Boomers to Millennials to Gen Z.
Smart employers understand that each generation brings with it a unique set of work-styles, needs and desires. But they also realize that each of these generations offers a unique set of perspectives and skill sets.
Most importantly, they know that their office design can appeal to every generation. And they know that in doing so, they can boost efficiency, productivity, output and the bottom line.
Here are 4 key factors to hone in on to design an office that will appeal to staff of all ages.
Understand the Pros and Cons of a Multi-Generational Workforce
The big thing to address when designing your office to appeal to every generation is the fact that Gen Z, Millennials and Baby Boomers are all vastly different, and that those differences offer both pros and cons.
Having people from multiple generations on your team means you have a big range of experience, skill sets and points of view. This can do great things for your business. Bit it also means dealing with differences in their preferences and expectations. This poses a huge challenge in designing a workspace that maximizes performance and morale.
So, as much as different generations can complement each other and benefit your business, they can also create one of your biggest business challenges. Understanding where these differences stem from is key in creating an office that brings out the best in your team.
Familiarize Yourself with the Things Different Generations Have in Common
For all of their differences, people in every generation share a number of commonalities in what they want from their work and their employer. In order to design an office fit for everyone, it’s important to get a grasp on these common threads.
Among the biggest is a focus on wellness. Whether they are Gen Z, Millennials or Baby Boomers, they probably want to work in an environment that offers health benefits and promotes a culture of wellbeing.
A modern wellness philosophy will resonate well with employees of all generations. It should address physical, social and intellectual wellbeing. And while it may seem like a big task to develop and integrate a culture of wellness, it all starts by integrating these concepts into workplace design.
Understand and Embrace the Differences Between Generations
There are no two ways around it. Each generation has their own preferences in work styles and environments. The problem is, they vary vastly from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Younger generations typically possess a fast-paced and on-demand mindset. They seek freedom and variety, and typically prefer flexibility in their workspaces over feeling that they are tethered to a desk or an office. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers typically resonate more with familiarity and routine.
These differences are evident in the evolution of the standard office over time. In years past, office spaces consisted primarily of private offices and large desks. Then came the transition to centre-office cubicles, with natural light reserved for corner office executives. Today, there’s been a massive shift towards open-concept workspaces designed to stimulate collaboration, efficiency, and accessibility.
Utilize Your Understanding of Your Team to Create a Blended Office Design
To design a functional and effective office that brings out the best in your staff from all generations, you need to embrace that there’s no one-size-fits-all formula.
For example, you know that Baby Boomers and Gen Z have vastly different preferences in an office. While an open-concept office and shared workspaces will work for some people, others might find it to be a distraction.
With this in mind, the key to a blended office is variety. Consider a mix of private, dedicated workspaces and collaborative spaces, café-style temporary workspaces and lots of meeting rooms. This will offer something for everyone. It will provide consistency, peace, and quiet for those who need it, and a higher-energy and less static work environment for those who thrive on it.
Designing an office that works for all generations means balancing their similarities and difference. A space that focuses on air and water quality, access to healthy food and ready availability of natural lighting will work well. You can amplify this through your furniture by integrating fitness and comfort, including options for sit-stand workstations.
As a business leader, trying to keep everyone happy can be tough. It can also be hard keeping a balance between recruiting new talent and retaining current staff. But there are a ton of potential business benefits offered by employing staff from many generations. If you can design a workspace that keeps them all happy, you’ll unlock a ton of potential to put to work for your business.