Open office

Fundamental shifts in office buildings are taking place thanks to the youngest demographic they employ, the millennials. With a growing need to employee from the younger generation, companies around the world are making the effort to ensure their office provides what millennials are looking for.

According to the Governance Studies at Brookings report, How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America, millennials will make up more than 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025.[1] Therefore it’s important that companies provide an office space that looks visually appealing but also accommodates to their younger staff’s needs.

What millennials are looking for in an office space

Millennials often don’t want to work in an office that looks and feels too corporate. What they’re after is an office space that allows them to maintain a healthy work/ life balance. Ken Shuttleworth, president of the British Council for Offices and founder of international award-winning architectural company, Make, who are responsible for redesigning Sydney’s Wynyard Station with a 27-storey commercial tower, transit hall and retail space, says millennials prefer shared spaces, extra facilities such as gyms, and flexibility.

According to Shuttleworth, simple things like updated technology, natural light and access to fresh air is important but the key is flexibility. In fact, according to 60 per cent of Australian CFOs, one of the top qualities brought to the workplace by millennials is an increased emphasis on flexibility.[2]

Offices that provide a number of different spaces to choose from, including comfortable living rooms, libraries, stand-up tables and outdoor spaces, will allow millennials to work in an environment they thrive in. Sometimes the most comfortable spaces to work in are outdoors and offices should be open to this idea.

In addition, technology is such an important part of millennial’s day to day lives and workflows that it needs to be incorporated into the office spaces they’re occupying. Companies need to update their office spaces to reflect this and to avoid downtime caused by inadequate or out of date technology.

How office owners can benefit from listening to what millennials want

Millennial’s need for a flexible office space will encourage businesses and office owners to take a step towards the future. Buildings and offices that were built in the 1980s have already been deemed obsolete with many throughout Sydney’s CBD being knocked down and rebuilt to cater for the office needs of today.

According to Natalie Slessor, head of workplace at Leadlease, office spaces need to be flexible to allow companies to grow without renewing their space every time.[3]

Listening to what millennials want in their office space will allow businesses and companies to adapt to modern and future business changes, encouraging more millennials to join the organisation. Hiring staff is only part of the process, being able to constantly adapt to the changing employee landscape will help aid staff retention and the best way to do that is with a flexible office space.

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[1] Workforce 2020: What You Need To Know Now, D. Donston-Miller, https://www.forbes.com/sites/workday/2016/05/05/workforce-2020-what-you-need-to-know-now/#301b6a9a2d63

[2] The key qualities millennials are bringing to Australian offices, C.Pash, (2017) https://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-key-qualities-millennials-are-bringing-to-australian-offices-2017-8

[3] Millennials are driving the big changes in office design, S. Williams (2017) https://www.commercialrealestate.com.au/news/millennials-are-driving-the-big-changes-in-office-design/