Why businesses need to embrace the Millennials style of working

Howard Barnes, Managing Director of Derby-based re-fit specialists

Howard Barnes, Managing Director of Derby-based re-fit specialists ThreeHundredandSixtyDegrees, discusses why businesses need to embrace the Millennials style of working.

Millennials – those crazy kids born between 1980 and 1999 – get their fair share of stick and, as such, there’s a tendency for a section of the baby boomers and middle-aged folks amongst us to view their supposedly flighty antics in the workplace with a degree of well derision.

Much has been discussed about how to adapt sales and marketing strategies to target the Millennials.

However, how many of us in business are re-thinking the work environment to ensure that we capitalise on their innovative ideas, grasp of modern technologies and their enviable willingness to work hard and collaborate?

It’s worth remembering that we were all young once – young and inexperienced but eager to change the world.

Millennials amongst us are no different. Indeed a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that most Millennials and older workers actually share many of the same career goals.

We all want to make a positive impact on the organisation we work for; help solve social and environmental challenges; work with a diverse group of people and want to manage work-life balance more effectively.

So how does your workplace measure up when it comes to encouraging and nurturing this generation, along with all the qualities that they can bring to your organisation?

After all, by 2025, three out of four office employees are projected to be Millennials, according to a study by Forbes.

Layout is important and the focus is shifting away from personal, enclosed spaces.

In fact, Millennials are more likely than those who came before them to feel more comfortable working in open, collaborative areas. Such spaces are the ideal environment for ideas to be fired back and forth when they emerge and where decisions can be made faster.

There also needs to be a greater emphasis on community and communal spaces – which makes sense when you think about it.

Consider how so many of us have grown closer via social media and the immediacy of communications technology over the last 20 years or so.

It therefore stands to reason that the social aspect of everyday life is becoming more of an important factor in the workplace.

More communal workspaces are the order of the day with larger desk areas, discussion tables or work booths where groups of four and below can sit around an enclosed table to discuss and debate.

Social space including break out spaces, games rooms and larger kitchens/eating areas can also support this way of working as well as boosting employee wellbeing and productivity.

As the Midlands’ leading re-fit specialists, we are increasingly designing new office environments with the work styles and social needs of the Millennials at the forefront of our minds.

Clients are now embracing their inner Millennial and recognise that designing and adapting their workspace has paid dividends in attracting the right new recruits to work for them and then retaining their specific skills base.

By embracing the research that proves that agile working encourages staff to be more intuitive and collaborative, they have seen consideration return on investment with improved efficiency and competitive edge.