3 Generations in 1 Office

29th Apr 2017

I keep hearing that everyone is living longer and that I won’t retire until I am eighty something. That means that everyone else must also still be working. So there will be employees born in the 1940’s all the way up to 2000’s working in the same space.

This article is all about thinking how each generation is different, how to keep them happy and what easy upgrades or adjustments you can make when analysing your office.

According to “times magazine” you can split working ages up into three categories; The Baby boomers (1940’s- 1965), Generation X (1965-1978) and Generation Y (1978 – present day)

1. The Baby Boomers or Golden Oldies

These employees will be the oldest of what are now around 72 million workers who have reached a retirement age of 67 and born before 1965.  Heavily influenced by their parents generation, these workers are very much traditionalists in the way they go about doing things. They have seen and gone through economic hardship, and due to this, have a very strong work ethic.

The baby boomers are usually the builders and drivers of most companies. They are the foundation and backbone of a company’s ethics and culture. Being very goal driven, they thrive with tangible success and tangible products.

When looking at an office space then, you have to be careful. Studies have found this generation are much less adaptive to change and technology, but due to their success and the focus they have for tasks, there is a balance that has to be made. Therefore a need for quite zones within offices, personal individually marked desks and small meeting areas may be obvious options to look at.
When thinking about this generation in a modern day office, the use of noise cancelling screens which attached to modern desks allow employees to have privacy, minimising distractions when working, whilst at the same time still being involved in the office space. To help reduce the waste of office space but allow private meeting areas, products such as modular workstations and meeting bubbles give access to this  at a low cost. These are a much better option than sectioning off a whole meeting room which could be put to better use.

2. Generation X

My parents Generation, again very hard working and goal orientated employees. You hear them walking around the office saying “back in my day it was much harder” when they talk to new employees.  On the whole this generation will have focused on one industry with the goal of climbing corporate / career ladders, with the intention of getting to the top whilst continually making references to how they were brought up in their corporate structures.  These are the teachers of the business, so they are very valuable. Compared to baby boomers they have had much more access to technological evolutions, however by today’s standard the technology back then was big and messy.

Generation X within offices are big fans of anything clever or intelligent.  Anything from smart cabling solutions for desks or fold away tables for conferences. These employees are used to work spaces cluttered with wires, floppy discs and paper.  Solutions that are seen to be effective and smart will be greatly received.

Products such as bench desks with built in cable solutions would be a great idea for Generation X as it utilises space much more efficiently than old desks and it gives them everything they need with no mess.

3. Generation Y

“TNT” or The New Thing. This is the best way to describe this generation of workers. Everything is fast, smart, creative and small. In most cases these are the newest members of the workforce. Unlike “Baby boomers” and “Generation X” this generation of workers have been brought up in an environment where everything happens a lot quicker. Everything is evolving much faster and they are much more adaptable to change and learning new skills. They will want your office to adapt as fast as they do.

However they are much less likely to alienate themselves in a work pod to complete a task. They would much rather sit collaboratively with a team, drinking expensive coffee whilst using all the latest Apple Macintosh technology.

Rather than products that are smart or convenient, Generation Y prefers products that give them access to the latest “thing”. So new software, CRM systems, and smart furniture is the way forward.  Supplying break out spaces with built in I-pads, smart boards and video conferencing capabilities are just some of the ways to allow this generation to make the most of your office space.

I have only mentioned a few areas for ideas within this blog. If you would like me to let you know more about how Design Office Consultancy are helping businesses create change within offices please get in contact.