Creating a workspace design for multiple generations is an ever growing challenge for business owners. There’s no denying that the latest generations of workers operate in a very different way to what’s traditionally been known in the office. From their easy adoption of technology to their anytime-anywhere approach, its clear that the workplace can no longer remain the same.

Traditional vs New generation

The traditional office space as we knew it, with bland walls and individual desks is fast becoming defunct. ‘It worked ok for us’ is the standard response to the ambitions of new generations, striving to create a more colourful, collaborative and cohesive working environment.

It’s true enough that fixed desks and company branding on white walls is a workspace that can be productive. However there is a new generation that have never known life without technology, who are causing things to change in the office world.

All through school this new generation have been used to using tablets or laptops in a variety of locations, and can work anywhere at any time. This flexibility has is causing changes to the workspace, and this can be uncomfortable for the traditional 9-5 office workers.

The new workspace looks different. It has different zones for different tasks, and work may even be done outside the office space; in coffee shops, train stations or even at home.

Space to play

The new generation need space to play in their working environment. From the ping-pong table, to the bar, you’ll find an ever-increasing integration of home and work. Relaxation is important, as new generations adopt a different kind of work-hard-play-hard mentality.

When you’re building these spaces in your workspace it’s wise to position them away from prime working spaces. If your traditional workers are trying to concentrate, they are unlikely to appreciate a cheerful celebration of the latest success too close by.

Private and public spaces

Encourage maximum productivity for all generations by providing a range of different working spaces. Create places for different tasks, from high focus individual working booths, to open collaboration spaces. Ensure that everyone understands how to use your new space and appreciate the fact that you might still see some overlap. There could be a millennial that prefers to do their high focus working sat at the teapoint. Appreciate that each individual has their unique working styles and embrace this as part of the diversity of your team.

How to overcome the challenges.

Focusing on the individual activities performed by your people is the first step to creating a workspace that works. Once you understand the nature of the daily tasks, you can build a workspace that accommodates all of the activities, and thereby offers spaces and a design for multiple generations, thereby meeting all the needs of your people.

The last word.

Working together with a range of ages is part of life. There will always be some elements of ‘give and take’ and accommodating colleagues’ needs is the secret to teamwork. A mutual understanding between generations will help foster better working relationships, thereby enhancing your culture and your team’s productivity.

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