Technology + Ambiance + Atmosphere + Environment = Creativity and Productivity = SSP (Smart Space Planning)
Y Generation or the Millennials are the young people born between 1980 and 2000. As time goes by, not only generations change, but also workspace requests do. Thus, once Y Generation becomes more numerous in the active workforce globally, also their needs and wishes need to be taken into consideration. Millennials’ most distinctive feature is certainly the permanent need to be connected and stay in touch with the people around them. Friends, entertainment and digital culture are among their main interests. By the end of the decade 50% of Y Generation is expected to be part of the work force. Bearing in mind this particular aspect, a change in the work environment will be required.
“The lazy generation” and “the spoiled generation” are just a few of the names given to Y Generation, when we talk about the work force. These are all stereotypes. The reality is a bit different. Millennials are confident and relaxed, relatively conservative in thinking and, maybe the most important feature is that they represent the most educated generation so far.
Y Generation is a creative, innovative and relaxed one, much faster than X generation (between 35 and 50 years old) and the Zoomers (50 to 70 year olds) and they are loyal to the people in the companies, not the employer’s brand. Y Generation want to work differently, they want to innovate and to do only what they like. They are X generation and Zoomers’ children and they were raised in this respect. They have always been told they are smart and have the technological advantage compared to the older ones. Internet and technology access gave them a more fluid perception of life, virtual reality being an important part of their “reality”. They are flexible, mobile, and unconventional. Y generation prefer a workplace where they can get emotionally involved, a space where they can socialize with colleagues and ensure their health and wealth. They consider their workplace as the perfect place for learning and development. Y generation may be considered the most sophisticated, digitally speaking.
Y Generation has a very different perspective towards the world and life, compared to the previous generations. The latest technology has no secrets for them, but they need constant feedback to develop on a personal level. The older generations need to embrace the current increasing trend in open spaces for workplaces. Either baby boomers like it or not, Y generation will keep on changing their workplace in order to perfectly fit their needs. Change adaptation to a flexible and open design doesn’t have to be a painful one for the older workers. Moreover, baby boomers might realize they actually enjoy the way millennials prefer their workplace. Work in this new type of workspace is more about a state of mind, it has less to do with age, but it has to do with one’s attitude.
Design at work may influence the attitude and employees’ behavior, as well as their well being in their work environment. Subtle colors, wooden floors and natural lighting are favored in work environments. Also psychology in their work environment may have major influences upon their well being at their workplace. It was shown over the years that a good design may have a big impact on the employee.
Millennials long for an open environment, full of light. 59% tend to prefer a modern workplace, with minimalist interior, in subtle, clean and relaxing colors. Only 12% of them would like to see vibrant colors in their work environment, and only 9 % would go for a classic style. For example, Chinese population of 18 to 25 year olds is more attracted by minimalistic environment; while in the UK the same age range of young people prefers more vibrant colors in their work place.
Companies make efforts in creating an environment in which Y Generation enjoy working every day. Young people of the so called Y Generation do not wish for fancy offices, rigid ones.
Studies show that for Y Generation representatives the balance between personal and professional life is extremely important, and 71% of them consider that the current workplace requests interfere with their personal area. 64% of Y Generation would like to work sometimes from home, and 66 % would like to have a flexible working schedule.
One needs to understand that this particular generation is a very intelligent one, and extremely productive, when they want to. But, nevertheless, they also get easily bored and loose interest. One always needs to make them feel belonging to something bigger than a simple business.
Y Generation is the first one to redefine in an accurate way the work- personal life balance by renegotiating the classical working 9 to 5 schedule. What they want is a model that works for them and a space they can work in. Work spaces are more and more flexible. Flexibility is key in today’s working requests. The millennial wants to able to work from the office, from home or the coffee house around the corner, and they do not want to have to attend conferences in a conference hall in order to collaborate with their team members.
Flexibility in simplicity. Talking about work space evolution, it is about simplicity in design.
One needs to understand that Y Generation has a different approach in working than their predecessors. In their opinion, work can be done while having coffee with their colleagues, sitting on a sack of beans in the meditation area, or in their robe at home. X Generation used to believe more in well organized meetings, face-to-face.”, says O’Neill. On the other hand, Y generation representatives prefer fast meetings, mostly using communication technology. They are also the ones who often mix business with pleasure, so they wish the office had something of the intimacy of their own home.
Y Generation see work as “ an action”, not as a “place”, and thus, they consider productivity should be measured through tangible results, not hours spent in the office.
The space assigned for each and every employee has decreased lately, but we can see a more pregnant need in collaborative spaces.
Colliers report puts emphasis on the factors that influence the demand for office space across Europe. Thus, on the one hand the total number of people working in an office will decrease by 25%, due to teleworking or remote working; while on the other hand, the total space assigned to a person will increase by 25 to 33%.
Based on the idea that workplace needs to encourage interaction and a collaborative type of work, designers focused on creating interactive work areas, so called Connect Areas, while individual offices have been separated in a lot of unconventional ways, using big pots of flowers as separators, for example. There are companies, where employees are encouraged to change their desks in order to improve collaboration with one another.
“Users have the liberty to sit and work from wherever they want, and their concentration is not affected at all”, Christophe Weller explained. He is Managing Partner of Corporate Office Solutions (COS), company specialized in integrated solutions for office planning and design. He is also the one who signaled the two major benefits of this concept: collaboration and communication improvement for a more mobile and flexible workforce, and a decrease in the real-estate costs for employers. “Hot-desking cannot be taken by itself, in an individual manner, it must be seen as a side of a whole, which ensures flexibility, interdepartmental communication flow and efficiency at work” Christophe Weller added.
„Time of the open space hall type is long gone. Open space today is nothing but individual work spaces, concentration, meeting and relaxation areas, all thought for employee’s better performance. In this context, hot-desking areas are present besides all these designated areas, designed in a flexible manner.
Romania’s Y Generation
Professor Ph.D. Vintila Mihailescu (Head of the Sociology Department in the Faculty of Political Sciences of SNSPA, Youth Monitor collaborator) disproved the myths about young Romanians being exuberant, lacking real role models and being anxious to leave the country. Results of the Young in Romania report, a marketing urban profile show Romanian young generation to be in the “reserved” category, 81 % of the interviewed ones declared having met at least a person that put a mark on their lives, 20% of Romanian pupils and students are planning to emigrate and for the Romanian young generation, family is the value they treasure.
After X and Y generations, a new group of young people will appear on the work force market: the so called Z generation. As opposed to the other two generations, they are taught to explore and discover on their own, they do not enjoy teamwork, they prefer written communication, not face-to-face, and hate being checked upon. These young people, who will enter work force really soon will most probably create surprises to the employers, as companies won’t know what to expect from them. There are a number of surprises this technology integrated generation is preparing for their employers.
See you soon,