Workplace Design Matters To Millennials

New study finds office design and aesthetics are playing a greater role in recruiting young talent.

Is your organization looking to hire more millennial employees? You may want to look closely at your office layout. According to a new study by IPSOS on behalf of National Business Furniture, workplace design and aesthetics are playing a greater role in recruiting young talent.

millennials office design
Credit: Digital Vision

The study, which surveyed adults over the age of 18–including a subsample of adults who work in an office environment–looked at which factors have the biggest influence on employees when it comes to first and lasting impressions.

There seems to be a generational shift as younger adults care more about the look and feel of a workplace than older generations, according to the study.

  • Design: 76 percent of millennials, ages 18-34, feel somewhat or very strongly that that office design and aesthetic influences their impression of a company, while only 39 percent of employees ages 55+ care about what their office looks like.
  • Upgrades: 70 percent of respondents who work in an office environment say that they wished their workplace would consider a design upgrade.
  • Office location: 70 percent of millennials care about where an office is located compared to 41 percent of those aged 55+.

“Clearly first impressions matter, especially with millennials, and an interview experience can be impacted by how good a prospective employee feels about a company’s physical space,” said Dean Stier, vice president of multi-channel marketing for National Business Furniture.

Stier offers the following tips on how businesses can create a more inviting office space for prospects and current employees.

  • Customize spaces to fit departments and jobs. While employees in finance will want personal offices to manage sensitive information, more collaborative groups like marketing may work better in the open with desks clustered closer together for creative brainstorming.
  • Add portable wall panels to open cubicle spaces. Noise is one negative side effect of today’s contemporary open office floor plan. Today, there are a wide range of creative portable screens and walls that can be quickly added for privacy and to act as a sound barrier.
  • Go green. Researchers in the Netherlands conducted a study that measured a 15 percent increase in productivity when “lean” workplaces with a bare-bones aesthetic were spruced up with green plant life. Introducing plants to an office environment has been reported to reduce absenteeism by up to 50 percent, and reduce minor illness by 30 percent.
  • Create an active workplace: Recent studies have found that prolonged sitting can increase health risks such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Employers can create more active workplaces today by incorporating standing-height or adjustable-height tables that allow workers to rotate between sitting and standing during the day.