Back in the day, telecommuting was the hot new trend in office work. Companies cutting corners have learned that employees working from home are more productive in many cases than they were working in an office. Now we’re seeing a new trend in working. Offices are coming back into style, but not offices like we’ve ever known them. The newest workforce is millennials, who have a different agenda and expect different things from their jobs. As architects and designers, you are well aware of their needs and wishes in both life and work. You are moving to satisfy this new workforce and adapt to new workplace trends.
The New Productivity
Harvard Business Review did a study of companies seeking to change how workers produced. The first thing these companies needed to ascertain was exactly what they were after, higher productivity or increased creativity. Companies allowing workers from various departments to mingle over coffee found that sales increased as well as productivity in other areas. Premises were then redefined so that workers met more workers, talked and collaborated more. The study found that “chance encounters and interactions between knowledge workers improve performance”.
Millennials Are the New Productivity
The new generation of workers is coming out of college complete with all the new technology available and the wisdom to use it to best advantage. They are the new managers and are moving their way up to middle management. Within a few years, they will be the top managers, CEOs and veeps. Face to face encounters are a way of life to these new workers. What they seek is companies for which to work that will provide them the arena in which they can shine. Whoever can provide them with the best work/life balance will get the prize. Many of these companies have begun to think outside the box.
The Box Outside
Working outdoors has its drawbacks, especially when the sun hits a worker’s tablet, or traffic sounds drown out a conference call. There are regional differences as well due to weather to consider. However, outdoor settings are conducive to stress-relief. It is not too difficult, therefore, to consider outdoor office spaces as conducive to productivity and creativity. In a Wall Street Journal piece, business people report that such spaces might attract the new workforce.
The Outside In
In some areas of the country, this idea simply won’t wash. How can millennials be enticed into companies with no access to the outdoors? What can they offer to the new workforce in terms of creativity-spurring, productivity-inducing outside the box innovation? It is up to the architect and designer to bring the outside in. This can be accomplished through creating scenes like a peaceful pine forest, waterscapes like fountains or waterfalls, or even a blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds and a little sunlight on the ceilings. Perhaps a courtyard surrounded by ye olde vintage shoppes would fit the bill. Maybe a putting green or a living wall wouldn’t be too far out in left field.
It is the competition for fresh young talent that drives businesses to rethink their office spaces. It is becoming obvious that in exchange for these young folks helping them grow their brand, businesses must offer them something in return. If Tangram Interiors can design a simple waterscape, a café for lunch or a hammock between two trees in which to work, will it be enough to tap into all those fresh new ideas? Then the question becomes when can the architects and designers begin? Contact us and let us know what we can design for you.