Baby boomers have ruled the labor market for the past three decades. However, millennials are slowly taking over, as nearly three-quarters of the labor force will be comprised of millennials by 2025.
The generation that grew up in the 90s is bound to change the overall workplace design as they are more relaxed and prefer non-formal working environments.
Companies across the globe are altering their office design to tap into the millennials’ talent pool, so here are the top 15 décor solutions millennials would definitely approve of.
Although the Transformers saga started in the 1980s, its popularity really took off during the 90s and the 2000s, when millennials were already tuning in to watch Power Rangers. Perhaps it is shows like these that taught them that transformations are good and now millennials are applying this concept to the workplace.
No matter how good the interior design of your office is, you will have to change it as the years go by. Millennials are used to change and they start thinking that something is wrong with their company if their office looks the same in 2020 and in 2022. The modern workplace needs to adapt to the preferences of its employees.
Just like we have various parts periods (Baroque, Renaissance, Secession, etc.), so do millennials usher in a new aesthetics of the workplace. Their vision of space is a collaborative one, as odd as it may sound. Essentially, millennials prefer open interior space with functional and modern décor solutions.
When designing the office, you should go for an open floor plan that incorporates spaces for social interaction, such as the kitchen, a game room, or even a balcony greenhouse. For millennials, informal spaces are more creative and productive than conventional offices.
The most informal space in a modern office is the game room. Back in the past, there existed lounges where people could rest without leaving the workplace but nowadays, these rec rooms are on a whole new level.
From gaming consoles (a PS5 would be much appreciated by generation Z and millennials alike) to table tennis, the list of potential game room amenities is endless. However, you should force fun onto employees, as a short poll is the best way to determine what your staff needs to unwind after and during a typical workday.
Apart from the game room, millennials like to hang in the kitchen, just like baby boomer did. Modern office kitchens are used for everything from preparing coffee to microwaving a ready-made meal. In fact, this is where most of the informal socializing occurs.
For a manufacturing plant, workers hanging around the fridge all the time would be disastrous but millennial bosses see this as a positive development. Namely, working in the creative industries, such as the IT sector, means that enterprises thrive on creativity. Since you cannot force or order someone to be creative, chilling and chatting by the water cooler in the kitchen is the best way to spawn a million-dollar idea or a patent.
In the business world, the term “glass wall” got a more sinister meaning but you should look to build real glass walls. Namely, millennials thrive in offices with plenty of natural light, so glass walls are a welcoming interior and exterior solution.
You can even install glass walls and partitions inside the office. Being able to see their boss hard at work helps other employees stay motivated. Of course, such walls have to be equipped with shade for privacy reasons.
Apart from plenty of natural light provided by glass walls, modern offices should have another sort of bling, to put it as such. Chromed door handles, knobs, handles, linings, etc. Such glossy textures give the impression of working inside a spaceship, which is every child’s dream (and millennials were teenagers a mere decade ago).
Speaking of the cosmos, global warming is a real issue nowadays and topic millennials are interested in. If an office is eco-friendly, they are more likely to accept a job offer. HR teams across the globe are finding innovative solutions to raise eco-awareness, as opting out of printing e-mails isn’t the only way to save the planet.
Protecting the environment from your office desk is all about the details. When a printer’s lifetime expires, workers should see that the employer called in a company that recycles old electric appliances. Even choosing bamboo floors over hardwood ones is a token of the firm’s dedication to eco-friendliness.
Apart from recycling, growing organic food is a trend among millennials. However, they would never associate an organic vegetable garden and this is where the human resources department has a chance to impress potential candidates.
Even if the office is located on the 21st floor of a high-rise, corners of the office or a balcony can be dedicated to a garden space. This would impress all the green thumbs in the workforce, as they could grow food at work as well; a perk few companies offer.
Instead of stepping outside for a fag, workers could spend their breaks picking organic tomatoes or peppers and making a salad right there in the office kitchen. Apart from seedlings, you will have to provide gardening equipment, such as lightweight gardening gloves and trowels. After you get them interested in gardening, millennials will buy their own seeds and bring tools from home.
Comfortable office furniture is something that all age groups of workers appreciate. Millennials are particularly picky, as their chairs and desk have to be ergonomic. Your competitors know this and have supplied themselves with keyboard palm rests and tilting headrests but millennials still require more.
The best way to impress millennials is to have a carpenter or an upholsterer come to the office to take custom measures for each worker. This way, they would get custom-tailored furniture pieces that would fit them perfectly. Once millennials settle in their new fully-ergonomic work station, their job satisfaction will soar.
Open-plan offices really took off around the time millennials were learning to walk. The design was the reality they entered as they started graduating from college. However, there are numerous drawbacks to an open plan office, such as a lack of privacy and constant interruption to the work floor.
Nowadays, more and more companies are scuttling the design and opting for cubicles or conventional office spaces with partitions. Perhaps this is the best way to go, as millennials appreciate privacy. As stated earlier, the water cooler and the coffee machine are areas for mingling, so an open office design isn’t essential or effective.
Apart from a streamlined kitchen, the fridge should be stocked up well. Millennials grew up in a culture of sharing, which implies that free snacks and drinks are included in the post they are applying for.
This is a pretty standard amenity in the modern business world but there are HR folks who forget the basics from time to time.
Moreover, if you wish to attract top talent, then a complimentary lunch or Friday-night drinks are also in order.
The aforementioned game, room, kitchen, and garden are all considered micro spaces. They all function within the larger office space and are adorned by millennials. From the reception desk to a high-end bathroom, you should dedicate yourself to creating and furnishing these micro spaces across the office.
For instance, tables in the lounge don’t have to be crammed together but rather scattered across the room. One area might have a couch, the other stylish chairs, and the third lazy bags. The idea behind such a design is to provide workers with the opportunity to choose where they want to work/relax (the terms are intertwined in the creative industry).
The industrial office design craze of the second decade of the 21st century won’t go away for years to come. This is a good thing, as millennials adore this design and have grown accustomed to it. At the heart of industrial office décor lies one building material: cement.
From office walls to the floors, rough concrete textures have a weird sense of appeal to them. When millennials see all those uneven concrete surfaces, they immediately think that your company is doing well and more importantly, that you’re cool and hip.
However, this design isn’t a favorite with safety officers, so make sure walls are coved with glazing and that floors have anti-slip fixtures, such as mats and carpets. These do not diminish the aesthetic appeal of concrete and its versatility, as the kitchen counter can be made from it, for example.
The perks of having a small vegetable garden on the balcony are undeniable but the whole office should be filled with various plants. From ferns in the bathroom window sill to large ginkgos in corners of the office, millennials love the outdoor feeling plants give.
Furthermore, if top talent workers approach the HR staff with a request to turn their desk green, management should not only approve this but offer to buy the plants millennials want. Apart from having a positive impact on human mental health, plants purify the air, pumping oxygen in the office.
Besides flora, you can also introduce fauna in the office. Pet-friendly offices have long ago become a standard. Not only should you tolerate your workers’ pets but you can organize a pet show that would be featured in the company’s social media posts.
Millennials’ four-legged friends shouldn’t be the only animals in the office. Apart from popular fish tanks, installing terrarium is a recent office trend. Succulent terrariums are a design feature taken from landscaping that millennials will adore.
Terrariums can be found everywhere from restaurants to healthcare offices. You can throw in a lizard or a turtle to thrive among the lush vegetation. After a while, workers will give the animals nicknames, making them identify better with the office space.
The final thing a conscientious HR department can do for millennials is to let them express their artistic talent in the office. Some people like to paint; some are in love with photography, while others are part-time musicians, which are all talents suitable for office life.
Firstly, the concrete walls of the office should be adorned with pictures and framed photographs millennials made. Further on, team-building activities should include office singing talents or the employer can sponsor a book of poetry authored by one or several employees. The more “millennial art” an office features, the more will space feel like home.
Making a company appealing to millennials isn’t an easy task, as this group has preferences different from the generation of workers before them. However, if the HR department is ready to sit down and listen to their proposals, they can create a stunning office design together.
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