It isn’t until recently that four generations have been brought together within the workplace as an influx of Gen Z colleagues joins the workforce. Now, the generations in the workplace include Gen Z (born between 2001 and 2020), Millennials/Gen Y (born between 1981 and 2000), Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). Generational gaps may appear to be getting wider but understanding the benefits that this diversity in generations can bring is pivotal in driving a successful business today. The office has become a melting pot of intergenerational knowledge that when used properly can supercharge innovation and fresh thinking. Here’s how…………
Office design and structures
Open-plan office design is ideal for knowledge sharing and encouraging a two-way flow of mentorship between older and younger generations. Research from the Journal of Corporate Real Estate suggests that co-presence is the most important factor in building design for knowledge sharing in the office.
Gen Zers who may have just entered the world of work can benefit from advice and tips from a Baby Boomer who has been working for over 30 years. And those Baby Boomers will benefit from the fresh perspective, values and beliefs that younger generations may hold.
Top tip: encourage teams to have one or two days per week in the office together. Having all your employees in one space is important in helping colleagues benefit from learning from each other whilst working side by side.
Hybrid working and work-life balance
Gen Z and Millennials have brought new expectations that have made a lasting mark on workplace culture. These generations value a better work-life balance and the option of hybrid work alongside a fair salary. Whilst Baby Boomers and Gen Xers prioritised job security and stability over leisure, the growing focus on a better work-life balance is optimised by the younger generations, propelled by openness about mental health, wellness, and workplace stress.
Top tip: wellbeing is incredibly personal and can vary from person to person. Encourage team members to share what wellbeing means to them to help build connection and support across your teams.
Values and beliefs:
Research from the Pew Research Centre has suggested that Gen Z are the most racially and culturally diverse generation in history. This means that they are more likely to be comfortable with new cultural ideas and aren’t afraid to challenge what they believe is wrong. But why is this important? Making sure that new ideas and ways of working are constantly evolving is key to future-proofing your business and creating an inclusive company culture.
Top tip: provide forums and safe spaces to explore new ideas or interesting cultural developments where team members can provide informal education sessions to team members interested in learning more.
A multi-generational workspace has amazing benefits. If managed properly, older and younger generations within the workspace can have a symbiotic relationship that has a huge impact. It can drive a greater understanding not only of each other’s needs and perspectives but also provide a constant flow of fresh perspectives and ideas.
At Kerr Office Group, we design bespoke, collaborative workspaces to help your colleagues connect. Get in touch today for a free workspace audit and learn how we can help optimise your intergenerational knowledge sharing and connection within your office environment.