Rethinking workplace: How Gen Z will influence office design

Design Jan 22 2021

The pandemic has put a question mark on the future of workplaces. COVID-19 has forced us to rethink the way we work and design our workspaces. Every responsible company may have to go back to the drawing board to evaluate their current working scenario and make changes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the returning workforce.


If you are rethinking about your future workspace, then this is the right time to embrace a fresh approach keeping in mind a whole new generation, which is joining the workforce now, the Gen Z. After millennials, they will encompass the major chunk of the workforce in the near future.


What does the younger generation need and expect out of office space to unlock their true potential?

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How are the Gen Zers different from Millennials?


Generation Z, also referred to as the Digital Natives, have grown up speaking and breathing digital. The youngest members of Gen Z have yet to be born, while the oldest ones are entering the workforce and there is a good chance you work with some already. The largest generation in the world currently, they will soon make up one-third of the workforce.


The members of Gen Z share a number of traits with their Millennial predecessors. Both generations exhibit a penchant for technology usage and feel comfortable adapting to new updates and upgrades. But they do have behavioral differences as well. Gen Zers are fiercely independent and bring expectations and aspirations that differ from their Millennial predecessors.


While millennials are still excited to have in-person meetings and sessions to learn physically, audibly, and digitally, most Gen Z teammates prefer to learn electronically. As the leaders in online collaboration, Generation Z may struggle with face to face communication and the development of interpersonal relationships. Generation Z is also known for entrepreneurial qualities, with many aiming to own their own businesses in the future. While Millennials have sought work with a purpose, Gen Z values individuality and is mostly money conscious, seeking job security, and are prepared to work hard for their money.

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What does Gen Z want in the workplace?


 It is important that companies create a workplace that satisfies both the wants and needs of this generation in order to attract and retain top talent. The culture you create, the tools (you provide, and the general environment you establish can go a long way. With that in mind, today we’re going to focus on how companies can make their office spaces more inviting to young people. Here are several factors to consider when designing a workplace for Generation Z.


Lead with Technology


Gen Z is not merely comfortable with technology, they live and breathe it and are well equipped to deal with online collaboration. It is therefore important to equip your workplace with the tools for video meetings, cloud-based and virtual collaboration, and the right space in which to hold this. Opting for a design that is tech-friendly and fully integrated into the office design, will allow them to hone in and maximize productivity. Digital communication tools can be used as a means of promoting interactions between managers and younger staffers particularly for remote workers. Learn more about Smart offices.


Social and Private


The open office makes the most sense for collaborative design work but Gen Zers also desire private spaces where they can engage in periods of focused work. Striking the right social-private balance in the workspace, along with other aspects of your office’s physical design is vital. Breakout spaces are a great way to make office members feel at home. Combining privacy pods, quiet zones in the open floor plans will give them the option to work together but also get ‘me time’ for some undisturbed concentration when needed. Acoustics are important here, consider creating smaller rooms with good soundproofing.

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Back with nature


Focus on biophilia – the human desire to seek connections with nature – by adding more plants to your workspace.  Biophillic designs, a current rage is only likely to accelerate, with wellbeing becoming the cornerstone of office design. This is one aspect that crosses generations. Learn more about Biophilic Office design.


Flexibility


They place a big emphasis on flexibility, be it the option of remote working, or different work settings. Having a flexible workspace contributes to our creative side. With a mix of small conference rooms, casual seating, and a communal kitchen table, you can encourage collaboration and community. A change of scenery is super helpful. For Gen Zers, this type of flexibility is not just nice to have but a requirement. Learn more about Flexible Workplaces


Think culture


Attracting and retaining talents means cultivating a culture that meets their aspirations and needs. By designing spaces clearly designated for informality, activity, and inclusivity, companies can appeal to Gen Zer’s cultural values.


Focus on function and tangibility


Flashy interior design choices that express opulence will likely turn off new members of the workforce. Young people value minimalism and function over unnecessary pomp. They want a work-from-home option but also want something tangible.


Be sustainable


Gen Z has imbibed the importance of climate consciousness. They care about the environment because of the way they’ve been informed and brought up, and this affects their own future. Emphasize sustainability in your company’s ethos and make sure your workspace is proactively eco-friendly. Sustainable, green design and practices are no longer optional if you want to woo Gen Z. 

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The Bottom line


The transition from Gen Y to Gen Z marks a critical turning point. Businesses can ensure their continued viability by looking to adapt and change along with the world around them. Enhancing your office’s tech, fostering a culture of healthy competition, and rethinking your workplace design are but a few ways to introduce your company to Gen Z. The need of the hour, is to create a shaded design that will blend in with the requirements of various generations co-existing in an environment.