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The Psychology Behind Designing For Millennials

Every so often, as generations move through the workforce, employers have to adapt to remain competitive and attract the best talent. We’re in the midst of such a shift.

As of 2015, millennials make up the biggest share of the US workforce, according to The Pew Research Center. This demographic shift is influencing companies’ long-term decision-making, regarding everything from location to office design. To understand what’s driving those changes, you first have to understand the psychology of designing work spaces for millennials.

A new take on work-life balance.

Millennial employees are changing the definition of “work-life balance.” In part due to the flexibility and ever-connectedness made possible by technology, millennials are blurring the line between life at the office and, well, life in general.

Past generations of workers had a fairly clear separation between work and home life—the commute between work in the city and their homes in the suburbs.

Millennials prefer to skip the commute and live near their workplaces, often in urban areas. When working long hours (and despite popular perception, millennials tend to be workaholics), a “walkable lifestyle” provides a convenient way to enjoy all that life has to offer without wasting time stuck in rush hour traffic.

As the structure of work life and home life becomes more fluid, companies are evolving to fit in better with a younger, less rigid workforce.

How to Design with Millennials in Mind:

The most notable changes involve company location and office design. Both factors are informed by the psychology behind attracting a certain type of employee and making those employees happy.

According to a 2016 research report by Future Workplace and Randstad USA, several key factors contribute to workplace satisfaction among millennial workers. For instance:

  • 42% prefer to work in a corporate office
  • 39% prefer in-person communication
  • 19% feel work flexibility is the most important benefit
  • Tech-enabled workplaces are highly desired

The Future Workplace and Randstad USA research also shows that millennials value personal communication more than anything, including with their managers. This can definitely be a little surprising, considering how technologically-connected the millennial generation is. Many people believe that technology leads to a lack of interaction, but in reality, it has the opposite effect.

Find the right place.

If your company has yet to set down roots—or is looking to expand—consider building strategically in cities where your target recruits live. Aim to build your business in locales that support a “neighborhood” lifestyle.

Millennials want to work and live near each other, so find a place where your company can fulfill that desire. Popular destinations include urban areas and quasi-urban “life centers” with amenities like:

  • Green spaces nearby
  • Public transportation
  • Food and entertainment options

Create the right space.

For millennials, the desire for a community-based lifestyle extends from home life to the workplace. Therefore, when designing your office space, look for ways to embrace a collaborative vibe.

For example, consolidate your floor plan to maximize the use of space. Organize your office according to the purpose of different spaces:

Enhance communication and sharing between workers. For example, a horizontal floor plan with an open line of sight enables employees to engage each other easily.

Give workers the autonomy and flexibility to relocate around the office as their tasks and needs change.

Is your office ready for the millennial workforce?

From a complete floor-to-ceiling makeover to simply sprucing up old office furniture, our team of workspace planning and design experts is here for you. We’re happy to answer your questions, discuss your needs and provide a free quote. Set up an appointment to discover how your office can be even better. Contact us or call 877-779-3409 to speak to one of our team members.



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