As the next generation of workers enter the workforce, a key to ensuring a harmonious work space will be to create a collaborative, flexible and technology-driven environment. Leading design firm HOK (#37 on ENR Top Design Firms), outlined how to plan and create a multi-generational work environment in this recent article, “All Together Now: Designing an Office for Different Generations”.
In today’s diverse workplace, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Generation Yers are working side-by-side. To improve the office dynamic, companies are adapting their office space to account for the different work styles and mindsets.
Sofia Fonseca, vice president of HOK’s workplace strategy team in the Gulf Coast region shared, “In the 1980s, Boomers had a need for things that were more hierarchical and formal, and these are still needs that we have to address. As we moved into the 1990s, there was a shift to more flexibility, defined technology, and non-hierarchical spaces. In the 2000s, design became transformative. There was leverage on humans and their interaction with space so office designs provide spaces that are branded, mobile, and more interactive with a sense of openness.”
With such variations in workspace expectations, it could be challenging to accommodate everyone. However, by providing areas that people can personalize, companies can create an age-neutral workspace.
Here are a few key take-aways we discovered from the article:
- Create spaces that inspire collaboration and an open environment
- Give employees the flexibility to design their own space with personal artifacts
- Provide a central hub (i.e. coffee bar, lunch room, break room) where employees can gather and share ideas in a comfortable setting
- Bridge together the office and design “private” and “public” workspaces to accommodate both working types
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