Bridging The Gap: Office Design Across Generations
Generational stereotypes can make today’s workplace seem more like a war zone than a collaborative space. Can a good office design bridge the gap?
What do your employees actually want? Don’t get caught up in trends without doing a little digging into the real needs of your company. Are your employees looking for inspiration? New technology? Wellness programs? Creative people at companies who innovate may need more collaborative space. Alternatively, people who work in sales and earn based on performance may want more private space with less noise. These are issues to take note of regardless of the age range of your staff.
One of the reasons you take inventory of employee’s needs is so you can easily avoid making decisions based on stereotypes. Just because you have a large number of millennials in your office doesn’t mean an air hockey table in the break room is a great idea. Similarly, not all baby boomers prefer cubicles or private offices. Again, it’s best to survey or interview your employees to find out exactly what changes they would like to see in the office design. If you have a generational split in your office, you’ll most likely need some type of flexible design to meet everyone’s needs.
Don’t Set Your Sights Too High
Unless you work for Google or Apple, you won’t have a seemingly unlimited budget for office design. Once you collect information about your staff’s needs, set realistic expectations for what you can actually accomplish. Yes, an office gym or tricked out break room may be nice, but many companies simply don’t have the funds to install these types of features. Make it clear that you take the feedback seriously, but you have limited resources.
If you take these steps when considering your next office re-design, you will be able to bring your multi-generational team a little closer together. Take the time to asses each employees needs. It will show you value their contributions equally, regardless of age.