Office, Millennials, But Why?

Office, Millennials, But Why?

Interior designers must be fascinated by the times, especially if they are the creative type- the kind who voluntarily deserts the surgical theatre for the sake of more picturesque career scenes on the interiors of theatres with functions likely to be disagreeable in a hospital. There is space for the regular designer just putting in the effort worthy of a decent living too but I reckon this might be equally challenging times to come by work. Here’s why?

Millennials, the middle class, the African bourgeoisie.

They are increasingly commanding the workplace as well as the market place and their number is growing fast, together with their demands. In Africa, a McKinsey report projects that the workforce will surpass 1 billion by 2035 and these will be largely made of millennials. In Kenya for instance, persons between the age of 15 and 29 form more than 29% of the population, while a larger percentage of the population is below age 15. Soon these will be part of the work force, demanding goods and services.

Organizations in every sector of the economy are increasingly aware of the changes this group portends for the work place and market place, so adjustments are inevitable. Workers need office space and millennials are demanding a different type of office space pushing developers and designers to rethink the office contrary to conventional norms. Already in many developed countries, companies spend large budgets on the design and creation of office space to optimise employee attraction and retention.

Here is a little context…

Of millennials, it has been observed, there is a distinct liking for new technologies and with that new ways of doing things in every sphere of life from social interactions, to work culture to leisure and travel, and all. To cope with them interior designers and developers have had to undergo a revolutionary transformation in conceptualizing office space for this new and dynamic market. So what do millennials want for office space? Infinitely many things, as far as their imaginations can take them, but here are my own suggestions.

My guess is that some would like the trees in their parent’s compound in their office or more likely, the office under the tree in their parents’ compound. Others would be content with as little as simple cycling track in the office. Given the chance, some who would definitely stretch the limit of official-indulgence further, and yet some would have none of that but an ordinary simple office space and furniture. It’s a good thing that the modern crop of designers are themselves millennials.

In this edge of cutting edge technology, millennials may have the right to demand cutting edge office space. However, here are some of the basics of the ideal millennial office space.

Open Office

The idea of freedom and independence both physically, mentally, socially and economically are intricate links in the millennial mind set.  Whether all they want is an open or closed office, or a combination of both concepts, give it to them.

Move-around space

Picturing the traditional office space may spark conceptions of hierarchy and privacy, and interactive barriers beyond the physical. Now however, less privacy and more interactive spaces are the objects of preference

Collaborative spaces

Modern tasks are more collaborative in nature owing as well to the increased competition between firms and the diffusion of information and knowledge. It is rarely the case that one person has the monopoly on expertise and information to complete the project. This calls for designs that promote easy collaboration and provide for spaces for people to network.

Work-life integration

With the availability of work from home gigs, there have been efforts to close the gap between the office and the home environment in terms of spatial configuration and services. Millennials prefer easy offices where they can as well feel at home and relax. Employers may want to use this as an incentive to encourage longer working hours, and the benefits are mutual.

Portable spaces

For millennials, personal tastes and preferences changer quicker than ever before in history. Tasks and organizational functions change and these may trigger a need for new orientations in the office space. Designing office space that accommodates the ability to adopt to those changes without changing location will attract a considerable consideration.

Technology

Technology has long become part of the work culture. Subtle devices and connections are now in use everywhere. The savvy designer has to design with the technological needs of the user in mind. There ought to be room for technological installations which must neither be obstructive nor obtrusive.

Although this list may not be exhaustive, these will definitely capture the attention of these new species of workers.

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