As the first digitally native generation, Gen Z has very different expectations when it comes to their workplace experience than other generations before them – not just in how they work, but also in their work environment.
With research by Forbes revealing that Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025*, it’s becoming more important for companies to understand exactly what their expectations are, and ensure their workspaces are optimised to attract and engage this expanding cohort.
To help, here are five key workplace trends for companies to embrace in order to achieve just that.
1. Digital First Workspaces
Gen Z (born between 1996 and 2010) is the first digitally native generation, forming a large part of their expectations around workplace experience. As such they expect the technology and tools available to them in the workplace to reflect those they have used at home and college. To meet these expectations, brands must be forward-thinking, it’s time to look beyond video tech and interactive whiteboards and think about delivering truly immersive employee experiences.
From onboarding to reward, B2E (Business-2-Employee) experiences should engage employees at key touch points using trends that reflect the B2C sector. From chatbots and personalised content on the intranet to the introduction of AR and VR in learning programmes, utilising current tech will drive both engagement and brand advocacy.
2. The hybrid generation
Whilst Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) entered the workplace during a time when the concept of hybrid working was limited, it is all Gen Z knows.
According to Forbes, 72% of Gen Z workers have either left or have considered leaving their jobs because of a lack of flexible work policies.
Whilst flexibility is key, equally there are signs that Gen Z really value time spent in their physical workspaces. Recent Guardian research suggests that weekday cycling in London is up 25% on pre-pandemic levels, something that is largely driven by this younger generation. The daily commute has become a novelty for this younger generation!
And one that feels worth it because of the skills learned in the office. Face-to-face collaboration and building confidence through workplace relationships are important to this tech-savvy generation.
With the future of the workplace lying increasingly in the hands of these younger generations, it is fair to say that the office won’t be going anywhere just yet!
3. Relaxed Corporate Culture
Entering workspaces that foster a friendly and relaxed environment is critical to this hyper-aware generation who prioritise mental health and wellbeing over salary.
More Gen Z identify as neurodiverse, referring to the diversity in the human brain and cognition, than any generation before them, and they are not afraid to challenge the norm when it comes to ways of seeing the world. This shift in attitudes is leading to neurodivergence being welcomed instead of being seen as something alien. It has shed light on negative stereotypes and connotations that are perpetuated around different abilities and ways of working, driving a more diverse and inclusive workforce. As a result we’ll see more casual corporate environments being established.
4. Renewed Office Design Offerings
Corporate and formal office environments were the norm when Gen X began their careers in the 80s and 90s, however, Millennials saw the emergence of hotelification in the early 2000s. This trend has only grown since then and is integral when attracting Gen Z.
The once dull and bland office is now bright and full of character.
Spaces to share, collaborate, relax, socialise, and focus are growing more and more relevant. Pool tables, gyms, in-house cafés, and lounge areas are no longer the exception in the modern workspaces but rather reflective of Gen Z’s expectations within office workspaces.
5. Purpose-led brands
Purpose-led businesses and brands are much more successful when it comes to recruiting and attracting younger generations.
A Forbes report stated that purpose-led businesses that have accreditations such as B-Corp certification are 5.3 times more likely to retain their Gen Z employees. B-Corps and similar accreditations that endorse social, racial, and environmental values can act as the deciding factor when choosing to join a business.
Whether it be through using recycled paper or using renewable resources to run the workspace, these are things that matter to Gen Z, no matter how big or small. So, identifying your purpose, along with running a business that measures and reduces its carbon footprint, will continue to prove pivotal in attracting this cohort.
Making your workspace Gen-Z friendly
With five generations now working alongside one another within the workspace and the number of Gen Z workers steadily increasing, placing versatility and flexibility at the forefront of your workspace design will prove to be valuable.
Understanding generational preferences and creating your workspace with this in mind, will ensure a successful and productive office environment that is suitable to the varying needs that different generations may require.
Get in touch today to discuss our culture/office audit, and how we can help to guide the future use of your office space.