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Millennials are Driving Changes in Office Design

There are a wide variety of factors that affect how modern-day office designers operate. But one of the most talked-about at the moment has to do with the generation that is currently taking over workplaces all over London and abroad: Millennials.

Baby Boomers are retiring en masse. In 2010, they made up roughly half of the workforce, and they’re expected to be outnumbered by Millennials by 2020. By 2025, three out of four office employees are projected to be millennials. We may not have reached that fever pitch of millennial influence yet, but we’re certainly well on our way. And we’re already seeing the effects of this in the way that office spaces are laid out.  

This is only one of several factors affecting office design, but it’s certainly a prominent one. In this post, we’re going to look at a few key ways that the sensibilities of the millennial generation are driving changes in how modern offices are laid out.

Less priority placed on privacy

Decades ago, offices often consisted of a series of private workspaces for higher-ranking employees, coupled with open spaces for some of the others – depending upon the type of work being carried out. This was later supplanted by an array of cubicles that offered some degree of privacy without requiring the company to invest a great deal of capital in dedicated private offices.

Today, the focus has shifted away from personal space altogether. millennials are more likely than their predecessors to feel comfortable working in collaborative spaces – to the extent that supervisors and managers are even likely to have a position right out three in the ‘bull pen’, so to speak.

Higher tolerance for shared desking

Part and parcel with a decreased need for privacy is a higher tolerance for sharing workspaces. That’s not to say that multiple employees are sharing the same desk now (though that certainly takes place in the form of hot-desking). Instead, it means that companies are more open to investing in longer (or even curved or L-shaped) desks that can accommodate several employees in a row. 

Greater emphasis on workplace communities

Millennials appear to value the communal aspects of office work more than previous generations as well. This makes sense, when you consider the growing trend toward working remotely amongst start-ups and companies with a more youthful culture. After all, when showing up in the office isn’t a prerequisite for productivity, those who do prefer to work in the office are likely motivated by other drivers – such as the social and communal aspects.

To that end, today’s interior fit out companies are designing offices with more communal spaces. That could mean more (or larger) break rooms, game rooms or, in the case tech giants like Google, a veritable indoor playground.

The above are only a handful of examples of the ways in which millennials are driving changes in office design. And to be fair, there are myriad other factors at work. However, it stands to reason that – as the march toward a predominantly millennial workforce proceeds – we’ll see these influences play an increasingly greater role in how we conceive of the modern workspace.


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