As people are living longer and working later in life, four generations are sharing a workspace for the first time in history. With experiences and viewpoints that span seven decades, 15,500 employees that range from the Silent Generation to Generation Y were asked what, to them, is most important at work. Not surprisingly, the four disparate generations rarely agreed, but their answers did offer some insight into the ideal office of the future.
Six Metrics That Matter
Representing three United States-based multinational companies in 40 countries, respondents weighed in on the importance of these workplace features:
What the Future Holds
Knoll Workplace Research suggests we will be seeing the trends below in mainstream offices soon, if we haven’t already.
Choice: The office will provide features, technology and policies that enhance the freedom to decide how, where and when employees work. Training will center on using space and technology wisely.
Experience: The workplace will shift from supporting function to creating an environment that embraces the social and emotional components of work.
Integrated Work: Spaces will support working in individual and group settings. The future office will have an active feel, with a constant flow of people in and out of the space.
Dispersed Spaces: Easily accessible, multi-use spaces will be sprinkled throughout. Many offices already have something along this line: an open landscape with some offices, as well as formal and informal meeting areas.
Next Steps for Business Owners
- Take stock of your current workforce to see what your current age range is.
- Consider mentoring as a way to get generations working together and to build understanding between younger and older workers – everyone has something to contribute.
- In a casual and unimposing way, have conversations with employees about their current work environment – you can use the metrics above as a conversation starter and make sure to encourage candor.
Source: Knoll Workplace Research, “Generational Preferences: A Glimpse into the Future Office”