Our workforce is ageing, and we now have a greater span of age ranges in employment than ever before. But how do you design an office that’s fit for a Boomer but also works for a Gen Zer? In this blog posts we share our top tips for designing for a multigenerational workforce.
If you don’t know your Baby Boomers from your Millennials, then you’re not alone. Exact definitions can vary depending on the source, but the following descriptions give you a general flavour of what we mean by the different terms:
In a nutshell, yes! The world has evolved rapidly since 1946 – and when each generation has entered the workforce, the working world has looked very different.
Think about it… a Baby Boomer born in 1960 would enter the workforce around about 1980. Offices in the 1980s were almost unrecognisable to the ones we see today. Computers were starting to make their way onto our desks but were not yet commonplace. They were also enormous, meaning office furniture had to grow to keep up. In terms of office design, cubicles were all the rage and interiors were functional rather than funky.
Fast forward to 2010 when a Millennial might be making their way into the workforce and offices were totally different again. Computers were everywhere and smart phones were in the mass market – but companies were still very much reliant on paperwork too. Office design was more open plan but still very minimalist. Nothing at all like the colourful, culture-enhancing spaces that we see today.
With all these changes to offices over the years, is it any wonder that people of different generations have come to need and expect very different things from their workplace?
Research suggests that different generations all have different priorities when it comes to office design:
Perhaps surprisingly, Baby Boomers want more collaboration in the workplace and better technology to support this. This could be down to the changes brought about by hybrid working – a concept that would have seemed almost impossible in the 70s and 80s.
This generation are likely to have experienced both cubicle and open plan working (and the positives and negatives that come with both options!). Perhaps for this reason, workplace noise is a real concern for this group.
Millennials are particularly drawn to offices that prioritise workplace wellbeing. According to the surveys by Deloitte and workplace management software maker, Robin, attitudes to mental health in the workplace is what sets Millennials most apart from other generations. In fact, Robin CEO, Micah Remley said:
“If we’d talk to Boomers or Gen Xers concerning mental health benefits, they would say that’s my business and not my employer’s business, whereas Gen Z is wanting assistance with mental health from their employers.”
Despite this group often referred to as ‘digital natives’, they are unexpectedly less bothered about workplace technology that other generations. Gen Zers are more motivated by values and beliefs. This could be a more diverse and incluse or an environmentally conscious workplace, for example.
With lots of different needs and wants at play, offices must consider the different requirements of these groups and create spaces for all. In practice, this might look like:
If you have a multigenerational workforce and would like to make sure your office space caters for all needs, get in touch. Our office design and fit out service will help you to create a space that all your employees love.