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The world is constantly changing around us, and as humans we’re adapting our behaviour accordingly. From interactions with friends and family, to the way we work - chances are that we’re doing these differently now to how we were doing everyday tasks 10 years ago.
Reading the news? Bet you’re doing it on your phone instead of computer or a physical paper! We see a lot of buzz around creating offices for millennials to make them fun and inclusive, but are we forgetting about the rest of the workforce?
According to research done by The Senator Group, it would appear that millenials aren’t actually the prime focus of our workplaces.
While millennials are an upcoming demographic, research shows that those over 35 will continue to be the largest age group of office workers for at least the next 10 years. So, while millennials will be the target for your next office design project, you’ll still need to consider some older occupants this time around! This doesn’t mean to say that you should only design for those over 35, but rather make sure that your office is inclusive for all ages, genders, personalities and working styles. This could mean a flexible IT setup so that someone in a wheelchair isn’t limited to using one desk with a specific equipment setup.
Technology and the world around us has changed, and the humble office hasn’t been excluded from this either. Can anyone remember the days of using a typewriter? Sending a physical memo across floors? While some older workers might yearn for years past, I thoroughly agree that our hyperconnected world is benefiting us by making us smarter, more connected and accountable than ever before. I love having my emails on my phone and knowing my clients can reach me wherever I am - whether that be away from my desk in the office, or out on the road across the country.
A key difference between millennials and those over 35 is their willingness to embrace the sharing economy. From Airbnb to Uber, the sharing economy has exploded in recent years, and in some way it’s made its way into our offices. Millennials are likely to be more comfortable with sharing desks, devices and workspaces. Whereas, older workers while they may embrace activity based working, would still prefer to have a fixed address in the office. This is potentially linked to older workers putting a higher value on privacy and space ownership, something that isn’t shared with their younger counterparts.
This doesn’t mean that older workers don’t benefit from activity based working. Research also shows that older and younger workers equally value having private space to take calls and a dedicated quiet space for conducting contemplative work or reflection. This means that you need to be mindful not only of the space and tools required for your teams to carry out their function, but also by the overall makeup of your teams. If you have a team of social media experts that are all in their 20s and 30s, then they will mostly all be happy with agile working, provided that they still have space for privacy and concentration.
A sit/stand arrangement is favoured by 41% of office workers, agreeing that they’d like to be able to adjust their working height. This is an astonishing figure, as this is 41% of people that have actively said they would like to have a sit/stand desk, not just 41% of people that would benefit. Research has proven that adopting a sit/stand setup in your office can help fight the heightened health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. People have coined that sitting is the new smoking, and while I agree that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for everyone, it’s especially more risky for an older workforce.