How can businesses meet the needs of and create a productive work environment for all ages when their needs seem to be so different? And how can office layout and furniture be used to attract and retain Millennials and other generations?
The HON Company, a Muscatine, Iowa-based manufacturer and designer of office furniture, sponsored research identifying workplace trends that impact the furniture needs of businesses. To answer these pressing questions, HON identified contemporary trends in office layout, furniture selection, and design.
Office design for a multigenerational workforce
Many businesses are increasingly looking at design to solve for the different work styles and environmental preferences expressed across generations. Many businesses are moving towards a more versatile and modular office, comprised of functional spaces that cater to a variety of work styles while enhancing overall productivity.
Modular furniture can be utilized for a variety of purposes to better serve the multigenerational workforce and cater to the highly mobile demands of the Millennial.
Standing desks, adjustable tables, multipurpose rooms, semifixed power/data splines, and portable furniture are all high in demand so that furniture that can be rearranged or transported easily.
These trends are also leading to the development of lighter weight furniture that anyone can move to create temporary boundaries in their workspaces.
Breakrooms, community tables, and small off-sections are important spaces to have for impromptu meetings.
A new approach for attracting and retaining talent
Research indicates that the overall workplace environment and aesthetics factor into attracting top talent and Millennials, while physical and mental well-being factor highly into retaining talent.
Café tables, conference rooms, or common areas are highly appealing to those looking for a change of scenery. Different settings within the workplace let people unwind and work in the way that best suits them.
Identity in the workplace
Beyond simple amenities, Millennials are looking for an office that gives them a sense of purpose. The aesthetics and uniqueness of their workspace is partially tied to their identity as a professional.
Organizations who’ve adopted a flexible and accommodating workspace are not solely fixated on attracting Millennials; they’re also invested in retaining current talent. By offering a variety of workspaces that appeal to all preferences, these flexible options allow employees to be productive and remain focused.
Residential and natural themes can bolster employee retention, productivity, and overall health to keep current and future employees happy. Creating less sterile spaces by incorporating natural elements makes them less intimidating to use.
Treadmill desks, perch stools, and other “active” furniture pieces are becoming standard features in the workplace as employers take a more active interest in employee happiness.