Millennial Office Guide: Responding to the Needs of a New-Age Workforce

Ah, the notorious millennial. Some managers fear them, others love them. But what you can’t deny is that this new breed of employee is changing the workplace on a deep and essential level. Millennials are shaping the future of businesses across the globe. But what does that mean for you?

Should you stick to the traditional doctrines of office culture and management that have kept the business world running for millennia, or should you change with the times to meet the new demands of the consumer market, and the employee collective? Psst: it’s the latter.

Millennials are not only shaping the modern work environment. They also have certain expectations and they’re not afraid to fight for them. Because after all, your business rests on the shoulders of a young and innovative workforce of tomorrow. With that in mind, here is your overly thorough office guide that’s going to give you the scoop on how to respond to the needs of millennials.

First, let’s take a look at how the millennial mind works.

Respecting the endangered unicorn

What is a millennial? Is it a delicate butterfly and a social concept so often depicted (and even ridiculed) around the internet as a new breed of spoiled earthlings? Or is it a workforce of the future, demanding a new set of rules in order to bring the business world to new, unprecedented heights? Well, the millennial can be both.

There is no denying that the modern office environment is vastly different from its cubicle predecessors. And that the millennial community is directly responsible for this (positive) change. The office environment has changed physically, yes, but it has also changed psychologically. With new ways of managing employees taking over in creating a more positive, thriving workplace. Say goodbye to workplace negativity.

Above all, the millennial wants and needs to be respected. They take their work and career far beyond the monetary rewards. They go further into the regions of interpersonal communication, office culture, self-actualization, health, and prosperity. The millennial looks for a higher purpose. Without it, they would feel as if they were stuck in a dead-end job. And the millennial will not stand for that.

This new generation of mindful individuals is not afraid of losing their job. Well, at least they are not afraid of switching jobs and finding better opportunities if their current position is not fulfilling and motivating enough. This is something to keep in mind and capitalize on. Emphasizing employee happiness will allow them to reach their full potential, and take your business to the stars.

Millennial is a multitalented creature

A millennial is not someone you want to stick next to a conveyor belt and have them put a single screw on an iPhone all day long. Likewise, a millennial is not someone you want working on one task day in and day out. Especially in a creative business environment. Millennials are a multi-talented bunch, and as such, they require constant mental stimulation. They want diversity and engagement in order to thrive and bring their full potential to the table.

This is why one of your priorities should be to find a way for your employees to showcase their numerous talents, and contribute to every project from a multitude of angles. Take an ad agency as an example. In a typical team, you would probably have a project leader, a creative, a visual designer, a copywriter, and so on. While sticking to your job description is a good idea, why shouldn’t the copywriter contribute to the project with an amazing visual idea? Or why shouldn’t a graphic designer’s input be valued as much as anyone else’s on various matters?

However, you structure your teams, be sure to look beyond the job description when hiring your employees. You might find something of true value hiding behind the scenes. Something you can bring forth that will have a positive impact on the future of your company. Plus, the millennials will be happier, so it’s kind of a win-win.

Productivity is in the air

Now that you have successfully delved into the millennial’s psyche, it’s time to address the concrete physical changes the modern office environment has undergone in the wake of the millennial revolution. Above all else, the millennial demands the workplace to support mental and physical health on a daily basis.

If the office is not adapted and optimized to be a healthy environment, you can forget about the paycheck, the millennial is going to find a company that is. Simple as that. And it all begins with air quality and proper illumination. In the millennial-driven world, working in a stuffy, dimmed office setting is unthinkable. And rightfully so, as according to research, productivity and mental clarity directly depend on the quality of air in the room.

If you want to elevate performance across the board and make your employees actually enjoy their time spent in the office, you want to think beyond the traditional ventilation systems. You should introduce an air purifier into the mix too boost air quality in the office. Don’t just settle for any old commercial product though, but rather spend some time researching relevant air purifier ratings online to find out which product fits best into the modern work environment. The millennial will thank you.

With increased air quality comes increased focus and positivity, but there is another part of the productivity puzzle – proper illumination. In essence, let there be light! No longer does the employee want to spend their time in a poorly-lit office setting; no, the modern employee needs to maintain mental clarity and energy with the help of sunlight permeating the entire room.

Productivity is also in the layout

You though air purifiers and big windows were all it took? Hold up, there’s more. The modern office layout is vastly different from its cubicle predecessors, and even though there are benefits to cubicles and ways you can make them work in the modern world, the millennial generation prefers the open-space office layout.

The idea is simple: open spaces support communication, transparency, solidarity, workflow, and a myriad of other benefits the old system simply doesn’t have. So, co-working areas have become the norm, but what else is there? Well, there is also the need to structure your workplace into zones, such as co-working areas and silent areas. Also, small and big conference rooms, rec rooms, and chill areas where your employees can relax and take their mind off work for a couple of minutes.

Every area needs to be purpose-built to answer the needs of a thriving workforce, one that will, in turn, ensure the long-term success of your company.

An idea that far exceeds the individual

Finally, there is a need to recognize what the modern employee aspires to achieve in life, and whether or not your company breathes the same values along the way. In case you’re wondering what this means, it’s that the millennial has a profound need to work for a company that nurtures the same principles. Usually, this is the notion of environmentalism, mutual respect, transparency, and undisputed equality.

For this reason, it’s important that your internal branding signifies these values and implements them into everyday processes by introducing eco-friendly solutions across the board, supporting equality in the workplace, and displaying transparency in every detail. This way, you will create a loyal and devoted employee collective that’s working towards a common goal. But also thrives in a psychologically healthy office environment.

Conclusion

The modern workforce is as different and as unique as a modern workforce can get. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, with higher demands come grander rewards. And now that you understand how to respond to the needs of the millennial, you can pave the road to long-term business success in the modern world.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
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