Gen Y workers, with their high-tech smartphones, internet savvy minds, lightning fast texting skills, and “always connected” attitude are now being referred to as Digital Natives. These office employees have a different set of needs and expectations for their work environment compared to older peers. As offices are redesigned and refurnished over the next ten years, business owners and facility managers would do well to take the desires of this new breed of workers into account.
What Do Digital Natives Want at Work?
According to Global WorkPlace Solutions research conducted by Johnson Controls, Gen Y isn’t actually that hard to please. Most express a decent level of satisfaction with their existing work environment. However, they do see some areas for improvement. For example, they don’t need to have a strict boundary between work and life. They expect to take work with them on their mobile devices. At the same time, they expect their office to feature more comfortable furnishings. They want a setup that is similar to the way they might furnish their own living spaces (if they had good taste and healthy budget).
What Does This New Work Environment Look Like?
In addition to dedicated workstations one might find in a traditional office setting, Digital Natives want break-out areas that support both collaboration and relaxation. They are used to being connected in virtual space, but that doesn’t mean they want to work in isolation. More than ever, they see the benefit in reaching out to form loose-knit teams to achieve their goals on the job.
Any space that’s reminiscent of workspaces they might choose away from the office (such as a coffee shop or café) can add to the feeling of freedom. Furniture that is easy to reconfigure as-needed is also a plus. Regimentation is giving way to imagination. Just like moving furniture around at home can make a space seem fresh and inviting, rearranging office furniture can help employees enjoy their work environment in new ways.
Fortunately, the top office furniture manufacturers are paying attention to the Gen Y trend. In this series, we’ll explore some of the items that businesses can use to make Digital Natives feel at home…at work.