Research: Generation Y Expects Home & Work To Intersect

Global research from Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions indicates a majority of Generation Y (18- to 25-year-olds) views the workplace as an extension of home life and expects mobile work environments, easy access to the office, and high tech amenities. The results of the study, which were released in North America during WORKTECH10 New York, create new challenges for employers wanting to attract and retain young talent.

Johnson Controls launched the research project, called OXYGENZ, to gauge Generation Y members across the world, including in the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, India, and China. The survey was developed in conjunction with Haworth and U.K.-based design consultancy, iDEA.

“It’s clear that this generation prefers a flexible working environment and schedule,” said Dr. Marie Puybaraud, director of Global WorkPlace Innovation and the report’s author. “Whether they be engineers in New York or accountants in India, the idea of flexibility is a common theme that employers need to be aware of.”

The Generation Y workforce expects the workplace to reflect its members “own city crash pads’” with a contemporary design showcasing relaxing and vibrant colors.

Members also value environmental sustainability. In fact, 96% of global respondents desire an environmentally friendly workplace, but not at the expense of cool design. Nearly half (47%) of all respondents want solar panels on site at work, and more than 70% want recycling programs in the office. This generation also expects ample breakout rooms and coffee bars in the workplace.

Top priorities for attracting Generation Y workers in the United States include:

Work location:

  • 79% prefer to work in an urban setting against 21% in a rural setting, second only to the percent that prefers an urban setting in India; and
  • 47% prefer natural light in their working environment.

When asked about their preferences for traveling to work, Gen Y respondents in the United States stated:

  • Car: 51% with 34% preferring to drive a hybrid car, the highest of any country surveyed;
  • Walking: 18%;
  • Public transport: 15%;
  • Cycling: 7%; and
  • Motorcycle or scooter: 9%.

The top three priorities for United States Gen Y’s when choosing an employer:

  • Meaningful work;
  • Quality of life; and
  • Work colleagues.

“The newest and youngest members of the workforce are making their presence felt all over the world,” said Dr. Puybaraud. “They are tech savvy and demanding, and while the recession has mitigated some of the need to court them as the economy recovers, U.S. companies that offer what they desire will undoubtedly be in the strongest position to secure the brightest, sharpest and most talented workforce.”