Millennials are the largest workforce in 2017. Actually, according to Pew Research Center, Millennials (born between 1981 – 1997) outnumbered Generation Xers (born between 1965 – 1980, like yours truly) in 2015 in the workplace. In this day and age of Big Data, this is important information for corporations. Here is another startling fact for corporations: 53% of Hiring Managers say it is hard to find and retain Millennials. To the left is an interesting infographic that will help put the rest of this article in perspective. Absorb this before you move on to the next paragraph.
Why are these numbers important for corporations? Well, this new workforce is marching into a “rat-maze” workspace that was designed and built back in 1968. By the by, the inventor of this workspace, Robert Propst, himself referred to his design of the cubicle workspace as a “rat-maze” in 1997. Yet, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 – 1964) resist the need to change this rat-maze for various reasons – from arguments like “We just don’t have the money to do a complete revamp of our office space” to the more personalized “You mean I won’t have my own room anymore!?” After all, they worked hard all their lives to move out of the rat-maze to get their own nice little rooms!
Unfortunately, the Millennials are not impressed. And they are now well and truly the engines of corporations. Neither does this cubicle environment help the lack of team play attributes in this narcissistic lot. Hey, Millennials, don’t hate me for using these terms, I am just ripping it off an infographic I found over Google (and fact-checked, mind you)! Much like how you probably found your girlfriends/boyfriends…
The good news is that there is a growing realization within organizations that this 1960s workspace is not helping productivity, creativity, or a healthy relationship between employees. Increasingly, the new workplace is bringing down these cubicle walls and, horror of horrors, banishing the nice little manager/director office rooms. The new workplace is starting to look like a café where there are no dedicated spots for employees. You simply walk in to work, find a space and get to work. Moreover, lots of real estate space, hitherto wasted in personal offices, now becomes available for fancy meeting/collaboration rooms. This kind of an office environment actually facilitates team play, creativity and also quite literally brings down the walls between employees and bosses higher up the corporation food chain thereby improving communication.
So CEOs/Presidents of the corporate world, if you haven’t already, start changing your workspace or Millennials will get bored and move on. To facilitate this next generation office space, you will need to invest in not just knocking off walls and buying colorful furniture, but wireless technology (WiFi and cellular specifically) will be the primary enabler of such a space. Oh, there is also the rather more obvious financial reason for this “cutting-the-cord” philosophy – no more gazillion desk phones sitting and accumulating dust!
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