As a business owner, you're on the front line of a workplace revolution. Millennials, now in their early 20s to mid-30s, are having an impact on your staffing, your work flow and even how the work space in your office is configured. More than a third of American workers are members of this generation, and its influence is growing as Baby Boomers retire. Both tech-savvy and socially engaged, Millennials tend to adapt well to open office spaces where they can work collaboratively or independently in the company of peers. But before you tear out the cubicles and revamp the entire office, consider which office furniture is the best fit for the new look of your corporate culture.
More Tables. Fewer Dividers.
The days of being stuck at a desk all day are a thing of the past. Laptop computers, tablets and smartphones give employees the ability to work all over the place instead of being tethered by a bulky desktop PC tower, hardwired phone extension and jam-packed files drawers. Millennials, used to working with mobile electronic devices, often feel stifled in the traditional office setup where they're confined to cubicles or clusters of desks in small, shared spaces.
- Accommodate for workers who only need a flat working surface now and again by removing a number of your classic office dividers. Then furnish newly opened spaces with a variety of tables.
- Arrange square tables in an area where groups of two, three or four employees per table can work together. For meetings and projects with a larger number of participants, the tables can be pushed together in a larger square or rectangular configuration.
- Provide low coffee tables and end tables near comfortable seating. These style tables are for holding beverages, files, and phones when they're not in use but need to be immediately accessible for any incoming calls or text messages.
- Transform the break lounge and dining area into a vibrant place for socialization by removing utilitarian tables and chairs. Replace them with a funky, fun combination of tall pub tables and stools, bistro table and chair sets, and patio-style picnic tables.
Sofas and Easy Chairs
Comfortable seating isn't reserved for the reception area and executive offices anymore. Depending on the size of your business space, insert one or more casual seating areas into the overall office layout. Although it may seem counter-intuitive initially, a more homey arrangement can become a hive of creative activity where traditional workers and management can kick back and brainstorm in an environment to which Millennials are accustomed.
The style of seating you use in these collaborative spaces can reinforce the corporate culture you wish to build up. Contemporary furnishings with sleek lines and bold colors inspire a hip, modern vibe. On the other end of the the design scale, a classic-style sofa, wing-back chairs and dark wood end tables give the space a more formal atmosphere.
TIP: Provide good lighting for each of the casual seating areas. Floor lamps and table lamps not only add a classy design element, but also provide task lighting and emphasize that this is a place of work, not just a rest area.
Reserve Sufficient Space for Privacy
Although they are motivated by transparency and communication, Millennials also value private work space for periods of concentration and productivity. As you rearrange and furnish the space where you do business, ensure that there are still plenty of places where workers can operate undisturbed. Additionally, some functions of the office require confidentiality and the privacy offered by a closed door. Don't skimp on ergonomic chairs and office furniture in all these quiet places so that staff from all generations can be energized and inspired.