What do the Zillennials want?
Should we adjust our workplace and office design?
Zillennials are often referred to as the forgotten generation. They were born between 1992 and 1998, making them too young to be classified as millennials and too old for Generation Z. Currently, a quarter of all employees in the business services sector are Zillennials*. The question is, do we need to make changes to our workplace and office design to attract and retain Zillennials? Or can we continue with the current layout and location of the office?
Solved recently moved, and simultaneously, our workforce increased 20% in Zillennials. This prompted us to pause and reflect.
Attracting and inspiring
Zillennials switch jobs twice as often as other generations. The job rotation is high, and the job market is tight. The first impression of the office during a job interview is incredibly important. Taking a walk around the workspace signals that the applicant is being taken seriously. This actually is the moment when the applicant assesses the future workplace:
- Can I see myself sitting here in this empty office space with this office design?
- Does this feel like a place I want to belong to?
- Is it well-maintained with pleasant daylight?
- What is the view like?
- Is there anything interesting in the surrounding area?
These are the minimum requirements that apply to all age groups and can be addressed through the office layout.
However, there is an additional trigger for Zillennials: They prefer to consciously choose an organization that aligns with their passion. This includes an office that is unique and not interchangeable because the company’s vision is noticeable. Adding an extra layer of styling or branding can be a last resort to reflect that vision. Our advice is to integrate that vision into the workplace concept and interior design from the outset. Even the choice of the office building can contribute to this. The earlier you incorporate these elements into your accommodation process, the more tangible the vision becomes, making it easier to attract Zillennials.
Engaging and fostering a sense of belonging
After they join, the challenge is to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible. Zillennials are quick learners and eager, and workplace and office design can play a role in that—not by confining them to closed offices but by allowing them to work alongside more experienced colleagues.
Also, keep in mind that they have not yet discovered all their own qualities, and it helps them if they can use flex workstations. Different neighboring colleagues provide different insights. They develop themselves, and the company benefits because they have a better understanding of the bigger picture. A more open and diverse work environment with flex workstations often suits them well.
Of course, the experienced colleague needs to come to the office and not just sit in that closed cubicle 😉.
Unplugging and incorporating relaxation into office design
In the past, exhausted employees would occasionally experience burnout after many years of work. Nowadays, a significant number of young people experience it at the beginning of their careers, and regrettably, this group is growing every year. The cause is not straightforward, but it doesn’t help that these digital natives spend almost 2.5 hours per day on social media, half an hour more than the average youngster. This results in a constant pressure to keep up, belong, and perform.
We have two choices: we can label them as weak and expect them to handle it on their own, or we can offer office support with amenities like a pool table, gym, spaces with music, walking relays, meditation rooms, revitalization rooms, and more.
The senior who ignores those taking another break should try to empathize more with their younger successors. When determining space requirements and discussing the usefulness and necessity of relaxation areas, it might be wise to consider them not as a nice-to-have but as essential.
If we polish the passion and vision of a company for Zillennials, bring back relaxation in the office, and enhance their curiosity and sense of wonder, we will all benefit. Ultimately, it’s about the fact that we need each other.
And what about our office at Solved? Should we make adjustments with the arrival of our own Zillennials? The honest answer is yes. For instance, our office has allocated space for air hockey, but the purchase is still pending. This is because we consider it a luxury and it hasn’t been prioritized. We need to act on this promptly! What do you propose?
Lynn van Asselt – 24 years old & Silvia de Haan – 52 years old.
*CBS, CBS microdata (EBB)