Generation Z, Y, X: 6 ways to cater for all generations in the workspace2nd October 2017
Is your business ready for generation Z? What about your millennial employee needs? Have you considered the needs of those employees who fall into Gen X and Xennials categories?
Smart businesses are gearing up to cater for a wide-range of age groups as the retirement age continues to rise and the practicalities of having to, or wanting to work past the retirement age become a reality. In fact, the Office for National Statistics has already revealed that the number of women working past the age of 70 has doubled in the past four years. Whereas, one in seven men continue to work into old age amid growing concerns over the bleak outlook for pensions.
What will this mean in practical terms for organisations? Businesses need to consider the emerging needs of all age groups in the workplace. Although this is a learning curve for everyone, there are huge benefits to working together in harmony. The older gen with their invaluable work experience, and the new gen for their tech and social media expertise.
Whether you’re a business owner, HR or facilities specialist looking to better understand the next wave of employees, here are 6 simple ways you can effectively prepare your office space that caters to all.
Spaces to share and care
A great way to engage and connect the younger and older generations within a workplace is to provide a variety of open-plan spaces that encourage and inspire open-dialogue, conversation and bonding.
Spaces that are creative and colourful are perfect for workshops, regular get-togethers and brainstorming. While the more tonal and neutrally designed areas offer a calmer space for teams or individuals who need time to concentrate or reflect. These break-out areas are also perfect for less formal HR catch-ups or personal reviews.
Gen z and millennials know how to switch between screens and social media applications. However, depending on the task at hand, and the different ways we all like to work, many employees benefit from quiet areas for various tasks. Like the different open-plan areas in your workspace offering in point 1, stand-alone rooms, sound-proof pods or meeting rooms for specific tasks can accommodate those looking for quiet time or space away from an open-plan office. These factors also play an essential part in the environmental wellbeing of staff.
With great tech, comes great power, and it’s now more possible than ever to reduce the number of internal and external meetings. While virtual meetings and check-in-calls work better for employees with families, or for those organisations with flexible working initiatives, it is also important that when face-to-face meetings do take place, that technology is reliable. The time during the working day is precious, as is great communication, so utilising space efficiently in meeting and boardrooms by installing effective and reliable technology, can help to ensure clients and employees are working efficiently.
As departments change and grow, ensuring your furniture and spaces are agile is crucial. It can also help your business save money in the long-term.
Making sure your seating is tested by your staff and is adjustable, for example, is vital to different heights, body types and other generational needs. Offering a combination of seated and standing desks will also aid wellbeing in the office, by taking the pressure off staff sitting all day.
Equally, agile non-permanent and architectural partition screens and office pods extend and complement most office landscapes without the long-term commitment. These solutions work by dividing open spaces or create closed and partially closed rooms dependant on your need.
Ping-pong tables and beer fridges are a great way to offer employee perks in the office, but all generations benefit from taking care of their wellbeing in the office environment. You may not be able to provide sleep pods like Google, but spaces within the office for yoga, monthly massages and other wellbeing incentives, offer long-term practical benefits to the body and mind.
Keep employees involved in the office design & workspace process
Most businesses go through expansion, or a downsize depending on the industry and market. Varying factors which can have an effect on an office location and the need for space. Ensuring your office space is flexible and including employees in the design process during these changes can be invaluable and can help staff feel part of the overall culture and change management process.
- At the beginning of an office relocation project, offer surveys to your employees to find out what’s important to them in a move or relocation.
- If you’re redesigning your current space, or just want to understand how hard your space currently works for employees, then carry out a simple survey to find out what’s working and what isn’t. This will help to design areas more effectively.