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How to design an office space for all ages
Workplaces are a special community of people spanning over three generations. Encourage everyone in your workplace – from young to old – feel comfortable so productivity and collaboration is maximized.
Currently, the split between millennials, generation X and baby boomers is nearly equal. According to the US Bureau of Labor, Millennials have recently become the largest group (at 35%) and generation X and the baby boomers are tied around 31%.
There are characteristics that define each generation. This is a broad characterization, but it helps show the value of each generation.
- -Baby boomers: Hard working but less adaptable and collaborative
- -Generation X: The generational bridge between baby boomers and millennials
- -Millennials: Adaptable and creative, but demonstrate less company loyalty
Although every individual is different, the important point is that each generation is also distinctive. Considering the differences can improve collaboration and team work between employees of the same age and completely different age. Experienced employees can share wisdom and insight, while younger employees can bring in new ideas that target a younger crowd.
Strive for a reactive office design that suits all three generations currently in the workforce. Here are some tips to make this happen.
Firstly, always consider how every individual has their unique preferences for workplace culture. In general, millennials tend to prefer shared and communal workstations that can adapt to an ever-changing routine. Baby boomers tend to prefer their own office or workstation that they can customize for their personal workflows.
Then ensure that your workplace offers a blend of isolation and inclusion. There should be spots where any worker can go to focus, and there should be areas where employees from all departments and all ages can gather to discuss innovative concepts. With a balanced approach between open and closed workplace design, all employees can find a spot to focus and a place to collaborate.
Lastly, understand that preferences and work styles will always continue to change. Modern office designs are evolving to keep up with a shifting workforce. There will always be a new batch of young employees to take the reins from the retirees, so office designs need to always consider the needs of the next generation.
Considering all generations in your office design will improve collaboration and teamwork between all employees. In the end, this will let new ideas to be mixed with tried-and-true concepts – the foundation for sustained innovation.