16th Sep 2021

Office design for Gen Z: Office Innovation for the new Generation

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The world is changing fast, and the COVID 19 pandemic has turned the past few years into one ambiguous blur. Across lockdowns, office closures and remote working, you would be excused for missing them, but Generation Z (Gen Z for short) have officially entered the workplace.

Gen Z refers to the generation of people born between 1997 and 2012. They are currently between 8 and 24 years old. This generation came directly after, and in many cases are the children of Millennials. In truth, Gen Z have been in the workforce for a couple of years now. In fact, by 2025 they will account for almost 1/3 of the working population.

With this in mind, it’s time that office managers start considering what the next generation want from their office design. In this blog, we’ll look at a few ways that you can bridge the gap in your office design, making it more attractive and hospitable to the Gen Z workforce.

 

Embrace Technology

As you can imagine, the ‘Digital Native’ generation are more than comfortable with technology. In fact, for Gen Z, connected technology is not so much a perk, but rather a necessity for effective work.

A reliable Wi-Fi connection and higher spec laptops ensure that your workers can be productive wherever they are. It’s worth bearing in mind that embracing smartphones, tablets, connectivity apps such as Slack/Microsoft teams and tech-enabled meeting rooms can make work easier for everyone, not just Gen Z.

 

Champion Sustainability

Gen Z have been brought up with global issues such as climate change in the limelight. Accessible information has been at their fingertips ever since they were able to talk thanks to the internet, which has made them more aware and conscious of the crises around the globe.

Gen Z don’t see sustainability as a cool benefit, but rather something that should be ingrained into every business. According to a recent Deloitte survey, Climate Change was the no.1 concern for Gen Z respondents. And this can have a huge effect on where they choose to work, with 49% of Gen Z respondents stating that their personal beliefs and ethics play a role in their career choices.

Start by emphasising environmental consciousness and sustainability in your company ethos, increase the availability of recycling points, and practice eco-friendly water and electricity consumption habits. Another good place to start is with your lighting! By switching to LED light bulbs, you’ll use significantly less energy, saving the planet and your wallet!

 

Focus on Communication

Contrary to what you might imagine from the generation often berated for being ‘buried in their phones’, Gen Z workers actually thrive on social contact. According to a recent poll, 72% of Gen Z workers prefer face-to-face communication at work.

Providing accommodating and effective space for face-to-face meetings, as well as open-plan offices and breakout rooms can all help Gen Z to thrive.

However, not everyone works the same, and all that socialising can take a toll on the best of us. That’s why it’s equally important to provide your workers with isolated ‘quiet zones’. These provide an ideal place to focus. Whether that’s for independent working, meetings, or just to take a breather away from other people.

 

Promote a Work-Life approach

Burnout is a real problem, especially within the younger workforce. This can cause increased workplace stress, sick days and in extreme cases, employee turnover. This is why it is massively important to promote a healthy and supportive workplace.

We’ve said it before, but we’re not huge fans of the term work-life balance as it promotes the idea of balancing the ‘bad’ (work) and the ‘good’ (life). But what if we made work good? Would it still need to be ‘balanced’? That’s why we prefer the term work-life approach. This means putting measures in place to make work as fulfilling and engaging as possible.

Increased natural light, social spaces and open-air design can all help to make work a better place to be. Similarly, biophilic workspaces which include a lot of greenery also do a great job of boosting mood whilst increasing air quality, and they also help to reinforce your eco-friendly ethos.

 

Develop Agile Spaces

An agile office is one that supports the individual work preferences of your team. This provides your workspace with more autonomy, more room for creativity and the ability to work with greater flexibility.

Designs such as breakout rooms, quiet zones and digitally-enabled meeting spaces are all key aspects of an agile office, but it doesn’t end there. To be truly agile, your office must offer effective workspaces for all your employees, and this includes aspects that you might have never considered. Acoustic noise dampeners, portable power packs and modular work points are all useful in adapting to different individuals’ workstyles.

 

Food for thought…

The importance of designing for future generations was emphasised recently when we took a client CEO of to another one of our clients. Prior to this, the CEO believed all that was needed was a paint job, new furniture, and more tech.

We knew that their very talented daughter was about to leave university and was considering graduate opportunities. So we asked which offices their daughter would prefer to work in…… He quickly realised that if he wanted to attract the best talent he had to design with the future employee and client in mind.”

 

Want to know more?

The number of Gen Z workers in society is growing year on year. So there’s no time better than the present to start making your office attractive to the future workforce. Luckily, we’re here to help you!

We can design and build a future-proof office space that is aligned with the specification of the WELL Building Standard™.

We’ll identify and explain ways to achieve the standards required within your budget and time frame. And set to work designing an inspiring space where your people have what they need to thrive.

If you’d like to explore a revamp of your office space, take a look at our People First Fit Out Guide and feel free to get in touch for a chat!

Author:

Chloe Sproston

Creative and Commercial Director