Due to the economic downturn in 2008, companies learned how to deal with their space headaches more efficiently and creatively. These lessons lead the workplace strategy for today’s corporations. A workplace strategy is developed when a company seeks ways to improve work space efficiency by improving the environment while utilizing space to its maximum potential. This allows organizations to achieve the greatest return on their investment. Entering the workforce now is anyone born in the 1980’s who is between the ages of 26 and 35 years old, known as the Millennial Generation. Companies that attract the younger workforce; like Technology, Software and Investment sectors should have a WorkPlace Strategy in place that identifies what the Millennial is looking for. According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation; the Millennial is taking the office space to the next level based on their use of the computers. Their main sources for news are the Internet (59%) and TV (65%). Less captivating to this generation are newspapers (24%) or radio (18%). This also impacts how they work, by printing less and storing more documents on servers. Connectivity is key to their work output. A workplace strategy that attracts Millennials is the use of smaller workstations for “Focus Work”. Smaller workstations should allow for quicker connectivity at desk height thereby allowing for ease of access for technology needs. Space is also needed for collaboration and flexibility among employees. Huddle rooms or private alcoves with soft seating are located in the space for private phone calls or meetings. The integration of audio visual and video conferencing is also valuable for collaboration. The employee is thereby utilizing the entire facility as one’s office. But looking to the future, will these strategies be enough? Unlike generations before them, Millennials demand work-life balance. Organizations are shifting their approaches accordingly. For example, one of the larger hotel chains headquarters’ in NJ published a list of amenities offered to their employees, including a 24 hour health club, full service cafeteria, coffee shop, convenience store and credit union. The intent of these offerings is not only for employee convenience but to help reduce their carbon footprint by keeping them on-site for a good portion of the day. This also plays a role in their pursuit of being a “Green” company. A workplace strategy supports the changing nature of work while incorporating budget conscious “Green” decisions that help evolve market conditions and company priorities. Millennials bring with them the desire and knowledge of what it means to be “Green”. A company’s mission statement that includes “sustainability” as a part of their employer brand will be more enticing for recruiting. Creating such an environment establishes brand loyalty and also makes the employee feel connected to the company’s mission beyond profit. In conclusion, integrating a successful workplace strategy will help escalate the efficiency, the use of work space, performance of employees and realize the cost of your investment. Guided by the ever-changing economy, technology and workforce, companies must adapt to stay relevant to these changes. Caroline Shelly is principal of HF Planners, LLC.
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