What millennials want in the workplace

Millenials
Workplace
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What millennials want in the workplace

The Philippines has a young workforce and over the next few months in the US, millennials will overtake baby-boomers as the largest representative generation in the workforce. This is a significant employee change for businesses the world over. JamieGutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group, estimated that by 2020, 40% of the working population, about 86 million people, will be millennials . Within the next five years, that figure is expected to reach 75% globally by 2025. Millennials have slightly different desires and requirements for their workplaces and offices, and employers will need to adapt to this to create a workspace that millennials want to work in.

With a high amount of young workers fluent in English, a lot of European, American and Australian companies are choosing the Philippines as a base for call centers or online customer service support centers. These businesses attract millennial workforce. However, call and contact center offices could be seen as 'anti millennial' places to work. Often employees maintain the same routine day in day out and are expected to be at their desk for a set amount of hours. Employers also tend to maximize the workspace to accommodate more seats. It would be prudent for businesses to spend time planning their office space or even invest in an office planner to ensure millennials are fulfilled, retained and inspired by their work. Millennials won't hesitate to change jobs rapidly if they feel they've got a better offer elsewhere.

Many millennials prefer collaborative work environment. Employers want them to retain their independent thinking and encourage innovation. It is common for millennials to desire workspaces with more space for movement and fewer enclosed cubicles. This allows workers to collaborate more freely and work together. Since school age, this generation has been familiar with brainstorming and collaborative planning. Many new office spaces include scribble walls, whiteboards and chairs on wheels allowing easy movement around the office space - especially when planning ideas.

Employers should give a variety of options catering to employees who love to work collaboratively but also provide areas to escape and workin a more quiet, private environment.

Further functional considerations may include the amount of natural light. Natural light has many health benefits including ensuring the body's carthian rhythm is intact which can assist with sleep and metabolism, natural light also lowers risk of depression. The amount of sun in the Philippines can be a disadvantage to office workers causing screen glare so it's also advisable to consider about having windows that allow blinds or tints to be applied to prevent this.

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Growing up with far more access to technology than other generations, millennials are comfortable utilizing it at work. Technology allows everyone to be in touch with each other even if they are millions of miles apart and this phenomenon is being adapted to workplace. Businesses would need to invest in more high powered machines such as Apple Mac computers or high quality cameras. Businesses can capitalise on this by allowing their employees to use their own tech wherever they can. This can cut costs for businesses and allow greater performance as employees may be more comfortable with their own technology.

Millennials may want to have Wi-Fi facilities in certain parts of the office space that they can use during their downtime and will be more comfortable having meetings on Skype or similar programs. The ability to converse away from the office can be really useful; millennials are often happy to combine work in their own time making use of Viber group chats or WhatsApp to collaborate when out of the office.  

Younger workers desire a better work-life balance. They enjoy having a set schedule and the ability to feel free through not being on call during their free time. It has been known for younger employees to leave jobs to find something with lower pay that has a better work/life balance. This may manifest itself through millennials wanting to work somewhere that has a gym or a cafeteria that sells healthy food. This demonstrates to them that health and wellness are important to the company.

Trend is that employers nowadays are giving more thought to space planning such that they a lot areas for relaxation and recreation. Some offices even provide game rooms, cafeteria and sleeping quarters. Employers are taking employees' health seriously as it also affects their productivity at work.

As the needs and aspirations of the workforce changes, so does the need to rethink workspace strategies. These along with other operational mandates would lead to a more productive environment.

Read more on millenials in the workplace and ideas for making workspaces appealing for them here, here and here.