In the U.S. alone, there are 80 million millennials, and more of them are entering the workforce daily. So whether you’ve heard the good, the bad or the ugly about this generation, there’s really no way you can avoid them in the workplace. And according to a study by Aon Hewitt, nearly 50 percent of millennials plan to actively look for a new job in 2015.
To recruit this generation to your company and keep millennial employees engaged, you may want to start listening to what they’re looking for. Global research firm Gartner uncovered the interesting changes happening in the workplace:
- Employees are only spending about 40 percent of time at their personal workstations
- Non-group tasks have decreased to about 20 percent of the working day
The workplace may be facing a seismic shift, and millennials are driving this change.
This generation grew up on collaboration, so they tend to expect that in the workplace. If you really want to attract and retain this pool of talent, you should consider restructuring and redesigning your workplace setup.
Office Layout That Can Boost Millennials' Productivity
Traditionally, employees would retreat to their cubicles and work as human silos. This isn’t the case for millennials, nor is it what they look for in the workplace. Millennials have a thirst for collaboration. And the first step to satisfying this craving is to get rid of cubicles. Interior design and research firm Knoll conducted a study that revealed the benefits of moving from cubicles to an open-floor plan:
- Performance increased by an average of 440 percent
- There was a 5.5 percent reduction in business process time and cost
As these facts show, walls can be a physical obstacle to communication, separating employees from easily collaborating with each other.
Consider moving desks into groups of four or six or lining them up in rows, so employees are in close proximity to one another. Make sure teammates can easily talk to each other without having to stray too far from their own desks.
Keep in mind that you shouldn't completely nix all privacy. Private spaces are as important as collaborative ones. These are essential when people need to work on complex projects or tasks that require fine attention to detail. Sprinkle a few desks that are partitioned, or create a quiet zone where employees can really hone in on the task at hand.
An office that pairs private and collaborative spaces gives employees the flexibility to choose a workstation that will suit the task they’re working on.
After the walls are gone, the next step is to create spaces that encourage collaboration. According to a survey by IdeaPaint, 30.8 percent of millennials reported that their ideation meetings are planned. To support and optimize this type of spontaneous workstyle, here are some hacks you can leverage in the workplace:
- Open meeting areas: Scatter tables and chairs in various nooks and crannies around the office. This allows employees to quickly gather for spontaneous ideation instead of having to wait until a meeting room opens up.
Whiteboards: Hang whiteboards all over the walls. Or you can even cover the walls using whiteboard paint. Give employees space to jot down their spontaneous ideas or to have stand-up meetings.
- Collaboration software: Leverage tools such as Basecamp or Slack that encourage cross-departmental communication. These platforms allow employees to upload files, chat and provide feedback all in one centralized location. That way, even employees located in different states or time zones are able to collaborate on projects.
- Partnership projects: Here at TINYpulse, we go over our virtual suggestions during each biweekly company meeting. To make sure these suggestions are being taken care of, I ask my employees who would like to be accountable for fulfilling the suggestion. This allows people to partner up on a non-work related task and foster better relations with each other.
Because these simple hacks don’t involve any major restructuring of the office floor plan, they can be easily implemented today.
Some people claim millennials are turning the workplace upside-down in a negative way. But in actuality, they’re creating a workplace that puts an emphasis on innovation, teamwork and creative thinking. To attract them to your organization and keep them truly engaged, you’ll need to create an environment that fosters their collaborative nature.
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