Eight Keys for Building a Positive Office Environment for Millennials
Company culture reflects the way a company arranges their office environment. In this sense, changing the office environment is a way to subtly assert a connection between culture and the workplace values that promote adaptive and innovative behaviors. Job satisfaction is closely related to how employees perceive their workplace environment, relationships with their colleagues, and financial mobility.
Building a positive work environment is like making a comfortable bed for yourself. In the same way that the softness and size of a mattress, the quality of your pillows or sheets, and the level of noise and temperature all contribute to a good night’s sleep, there are a few key things that can exert a positive, synergistic effect on productivity in the office for millennials.
- Create Workspaces That Favor Collaboration
Being able to communicate and bounce ideas off your colleagues in a space that is neither restrictive nor imposing is something that is integral to a successful workplace dynamic. A research report by HubSpot on modern workspace trends cites that office design facilitating collaboration is a priority and that “employees want flexible furniture, a distraction-free environment and lounge areas in order to facilitate productivity and foster good morale.”
- Ensure Thematic Consistency Between Design and Company Image
People are prone to judging a book by its cover, which applies to judging the style and feel of a workplace as a representation of company culture as well. Therefore, you want to ensure that your company’s aesthetic choices are consistent with its proposed culture and values. This point is even more important for millennials who are often more sensitive to possible inconsistencies. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks recognizes the importance of company culture in his remark: “The only thing we have is one another. The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company.”
- Create an Environment That Embraces Millennial Values
In an interview with industry leaders in interior design, it was noted that millennials accounted for nearly a third of the entire home furnishings purchases amounting to about $170 billion a year in purchasing power. In making purchases, they generally look for cozy, inviting, and functional spaces. Also, there is an increased engagement for millennials when a company has a social media presence.
- The Workplace Environment Should Encourage Wellness
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook makes the bold claim that “sitting is the new cancer” referring to a number of negative health impacts associated with a sedentary lifestyle. This ominous statement offers some food for thought when we consider just how much of our lives are spent in front of a computer screen for work or on the couch watching TV shows. Being conscious about your health and getting back into shape often gets put on the backburner as the responsibilities of life increase. Now, it may not be feasible to make space for a gym in your office, but allowing opportunities for more active breaks may help boost productivity.
- Reduce External Sources of Distractions
A study by ESI Ergonomics Solutions detailing reports from Millennials on the top three sources of environmental distraction revealed the following as major sources:
- Noise levels
- Miscellaneous distractions
It’s useful to keep these minor details in mind. When you create a work environment for Millennials, you want to treat it as if you were designing conditions for your own personal work station. Spending hours in a space with inadequate light, uncontrolled noise levels, and other distractions detracts from the overall productivity of a workforce.
- Maintain Strict Cleanliness and Organization of the Work Environment
Have you ever noticed how much more difficult it is to get started when your desk is cluttered or when you leave the dishes in the sink to clean tomorrow? As it turns out, there’s an actual psychological basis behind this phenomenon that links environmental organization with productivity. Your employees will benefit greatly from working in an environment that’s very organized and pleasantly clean and sanitary.
- Draw a Clear Line Between Your Business’ Operation and its Purpose
The CEO of Deloitte, Punit Renjen, argues that there’s more to a business than just numbers: “An organization’s culture of purpose answers the critical questions of who it is and why it exists. They have a culture of purpose beyond making a profit.” The entire basis and existence of a business is based upon some element of its culture. Ensuring that such a culture of purpose resonates within your employees is vital to driving long-term motivation and establishing goals.
- Integrate and Account for Technological Advances
This is probably one of the most significant and unique points to creating a successful office environment for millennials—the integration of technological features into the workplace. Technology is a conduit that dramatically improves communication and productivity for millennials. It allows them to keep in touch with the rest of the workforce, collaborate more effectively, and even to personally grow. Having a space that allows for easy access and use of electronics will be one of the minimum requirements to really create the best environment for millennial workforce.
Photo Credit: martinlouis2212 Flickr via Compfight cc