Ever since millennials got a foothold on the corporate ladder, the mores of business have been changing across industries at an accelerated pace, and office design is not an exception. Along with the surge in popularity of remote work, flexible work hours, and reliance on state-of-the-art tech, many companies had to revamp their headquarters to suit the preferences of the new kids on the business block.
Design-savvy and hungry for success, millennials left little room for guesswork, and interior designers were quick to pick the cues and put them to use; what ensued was a completely new chapter in the history of workplace design. Co-working spaces, open-plan layout, eco-friendly amenities, organic materials, informal lounge furniture, play-oriented break rooms, and ergonomic chairs and workstations are just a few of the hottest design trends the modern office owes to millennial staff’s touch.
1. The Rise of the Co-Working Office
A large number of startups and freelancers grew fed up with home-based work over the past couple of years, and the change of the millennial heart gave rise to the co-working office, a spot where young professionals can work independently while in the company of their profit-minded peers.
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Outfitted with business-grade features, a meticulously designed coworking space offers an expedient alternative to the classic office rental and many brands also allow office members to make on-demand boardroom and executive suite bookings. Co-working office members can get access to all the top-notch business goodness for a daily, weekly, or monthly fee, and they can use the company of other professionals in the shared workplace to grow their contact list and pick up a few tricks of the trade from fellow entrepreneurs.
2. Opening up the Formal Workplace
The open-floor layout is another hot trend reshaping the modern workplace which was greatly influenced by the millennial hand. Young workers today don’t want to be cooped up in a stifling cubicle, and they don’t want to be constantly reminded of workplace hierarchy either, which is why the open-plan office proved to be more in line with their design preferences. Though not a byword for privacy, the open-plan office engenders a stronger sense of collaboration and team membership, both of which are precious assets for up-and-coming brands looking to scoop peak revenues and expand fast.
3. Safe as Eco-Friendly Workplaces
Few generations are as eco-sensitive as millennials, and their care for the environment shows in the workplace, too. Energy-efficient equipment, eco-friendly lighting, and sustainable materials are moving into offices across the globe, allowing green brands to live up to their environmental responsibility policies and inspire interest and recognition among potential and existing clients. Greenifying the work environment also allows businesses to reduce long-term running costs and increase profits, and the seeds of the eco-friendly trend are expected to only grow further in the years to come.
4. Nature Sneaking into the Office
Another hot trend inspired by Mother Nature, greenery and organic materials are nowadays a common sight in stylish workspaces. Clad in natural stone and fine wood, the modern workplace inspires a sense of unity with the environment, and millennials consider it healthier and more conducive to good mood, peak mental flow, and ease at work. On top of visual interest, indoor plants can top up oxygen stock in the office air and slice absenteeism in the long run by reducing the quantity of air pollutants. Last but not the least, companies looking to max out their green appeal are using furnishings crafted from reclaimed timber and/or upcycling old pieces to both lower their ecological footprint and save a bit of cash.
5. Casual Furniture Does it Best
Gone are the days when the offices were decked with conference chairs, conventional PC desks, and streamlined lounge furniture. In the world millennials live in, ingenuity and comfort are the main engines behind every valuable endeavor in life, including office remodels. To live up to the millennial standard, the office should be decked with casual furnishings such as vintage-looking filing cabinets and shelving, while multicolored beanbags, minimalist chairs, and modern coffee tables will blend in seamlessly in a 21st-century office lounge or break room.
6. Work Hard, Play Hard, Repeat
If you want to cajole your millennial staff into working harder, you might want to let them play a bit during work hours. In the past few years, brands have begun to appreciate the gains behind entertainment rooms, gyms, and other fun-geared office amenities for employee comfort and satisfaction. Today, world-famous companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook rock cool office spaces which bring together the best of solo-work and collaborative designs, topped by a dose of playfulness and creativity for bonus staff engagement and motivation points.
7. Ergonomics of Business Success
Ergonomic furniture may not be new, but it certainly owes its worldwide popularity to millennial impact. 21st-century office furnishings such as adjustable-height desks, comfort-fit swivel chairs with memory foam padding, and even stability balls in place of conventional seating are just the tip of the millennial-inspired furniture iceberg. Still, the list of young professionals’ comfort and health requirements doesn’t stop at the end of the ergonomic workstation: flooring materials, lighting, air quality, and office insulation and soundproofing all need to be in line with workplace ergonomics standards if a young business shark is to call the workspace their second home.
The world of business is evolving much faster and to a greater extent with millennials calling the shots – and judging by office design makeovers they’ve inspired, young employees know how to make their work environment work for them. Managers, if you want to sway 20+ professionals to jump on your corporate wagon, you’d better drop the old-school workplace agenda and pick office design cues from success-hungry wolves from the millennial street: unlike their parents, 20-somethings won’t settle for just about any design you decide to throw their way at work, and it’s a good thing for both their employers and the environment.